2 men accused of attempted rape of 11-year-old

By Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldJuly 24, 2012 

An 11-year-old girl was asleep in her bed early Sunday when a suspected burglar carried her to the living room and attempted to rape her, officials said.

The girl's relatives were woken up by her screams, and they called 911. The victim was not hurt, said Franklin County sheriff's Detective Jason Nunez.

Terry Michael Hoefler, one of the two suspects later arrested after running from the home, is a Level 3 sex offender registered in Mesa, said Franklin County sheriff's deputies.

Hoefler also was found wearing one of the victim's skirts and was sexually aroused at the time of his arrest, court documents said.

Hoefler, 37, has been out of prison for about six weeks, officials said. He is registered in Franklin County as a sex offender considered highly likely to reoffend.

Hoefler and Kable Lee Gunter, 38, of West Richland, made their initial appearances Monday in Franklin County Superior Court.

Both were ordered held in the Franklin County jail for investigation of first-degree attempted rape and residential burglary. Bail was set at $250,000 each.

According to sheriff's detectives and court documents, deputies were called to the home on the Oakdell Egg Farm on Glade North Road at 2:19 a.m. Sunday after the suspects ran off.

One of the responding deputies spotted a bald man wearing shorts and a tank top walking on Glade Road just south of Selph Landing.

The man later was identified as Gunter.

Gunter, Hoefler and Tahti Tenita Dilkey, 44, apparently were driving on Glade Road when Hoefler's truck broke down in front of the victim's home, documents said.

Gunter and Hoefler reportedly went into the home and stole several items while Dilkey waited in the truck. The suspects got inside the home through a door that wasn't working properly, Nunez said.

Dilkey reportedly told deputies that Hoefler and Gunter had been gone for about two hours. When Hoefler returned, she said he wiped down the truck for prints and told her he had been spotted by a girl, documents said.

During the burglary, the victim said one man carried her to the living room, put his hand over her mouth and told her to be quiet, documents said.

He then reportedly put a bag in her mouth and pulled off her pants. The bag eventually fell out and the girl was able to scream for help, documents said.

The children in the home gave deputies a description of Gunter and later identified him after he was arrested, documents said.

Hoefler was found several hours later hiding in an irrigation canal. Several of the stolen items were found in the ditch near where he was arrested, documents said.

Hoefler previously was convicted in 1996 for first-degree rape and first-degree robbery after sexually assaulting and robbing a 23-year-old woman in Chelan County. He received a prison sentence of just more than 11 years.

In court Monday, Judge Craig Matheson asked if the current case against Hoefler is a "strike case" under the state's "three strikes" law.

When Deputy Prosecutor Dave Corkrum said it is, Matheson warned Hoefler about that. Shelley Ajax was appointed to represent Hoefler.

Hoefler's most recent time in prison stemmed from Franklin County convictions for attempting to elude police and possessing a controlled substance, according to state Department of Corrections officials.

Hoefler was admitted to the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton on Jan. 30 and was released June 7, spokeswoman Selena Davis told the Herald.

He is not under DOC supervision, but he is required to register as a sex offender for his 1996 rape conviction.

When Gunter appeared before Judge Matheson, he said he denied being involved and said he didn't understand why he was in court.

Matheson ordered Gunter to have no contact with the people in the home -- the same restriction was given to Hoefler -- and Gunter said, "I don't even know who they are."

"That makes it easy," Matheson replied.

Defense attorney Karla Kane was appointed to Gunter's case.

Also Monday, sheriff's detectives were expected to conduct additional interviews with the family.

Investigators spent all day Sunday collecting evidence at the scene, with help from members of the Washington State Patrol Crime Response Team from Spokane and Olympia.

"We've got a lot of fingerprint evidence we're taking in," Nunez told the Herald.

A vehicle connected to the suspects also was impounded to be searched.

A lot of damage was done inside the house, and the family doesn't have insurance or extra money to cover the costs of the repairs, Nunez said.

Sheriff's officials are trying to set up a donation account to help the family.

Prosecutors have until Wednesday to charge or release Hoefler and Gunter. If charged, they will be back in court July 31.

-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com

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