DAYTONA BEACH, FL – A DNA match has confirmed the identity of a suspect in a 2013 sexual battery case reported on the beach in Daytona Beach Shores. The suspect, 26-year-old Cole Eben, is currently imprisoned in Illinois for the sexual battery of a toddler in 2014.
Eben was 18 years old at the time of the case in the Shores. Late on Dec. 29, 2013, Volusia County Beach Patrol and Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety officers found the adult female victim on the beach with no clothes, scrapes on her legs and no recollection of what happened to her.
The initial investigation led officers to Eben, as witnesses had seen her with him. He told officers he had met the victim but stated he only walked her to a hotel. The victim underwent a physical exam at Halifax Health Medical Center, and a sexual assault kit was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for processing. The Sheriff’s Office took over jurisdiction in the case in January 2014, at which point Eben had left the area.
At the time the rape kit was submitted, there were no DNA matches in the FBI’s database. However, detectives learned in 2019 that a DNA sample submitted from the kit in 2015 matched that of an inmate serving time in an Illinois prison: Cole Eben.
In January 2020, sheriff’s detectives requested a DNA swab search warrant on Eben, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the search warrant wasn’t executed until April 16, 2021. Local detectives got the news in June that the DNA profile obtained from the victim matched the profile of Eben, “700 billion times more likely to occur if the sample originated from Eben than from an unrelated individual.”
This week, Volusia Sheriff’s Office detectives submitted an affidavit to the State Attorney’s Office for review, charging Eben with sexual battery of a victim 18 years or older. Eben is incarcerated at the Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina, Illinois., for sexual battery of a toddler. He was due for parole in 2027.