DNA links violent Alabama rapes to deceased New Mexico musician, decades after crimes committed

Published 4:51 pm Thursday, February 2, 2023

Alabama criminal investigators said Thursday they have linked two violent rapes in Alabama both decades old to a now deceased New Mexico musician who seemed to live a double life.

Tuscaloosa County Violent Crimes Unit investigators say the DNA recovered from two Tuscaloosa rapes, one in 1991 and another in 2001, along with rape case in Colorado committed in 2004, were linked to Elliott L. Higgins of Jemez Springs, New Mexico.

Higgins died in 2014 at age 73.

He had worked as a conductor for an Albuquerque orchestra as well a collegiate music teacher and judge for music competitions across the country.

Investigators believe it was in his role as a traveling music competition judge that offered Higgins the opportunity to target women in cities in which he was otherwise not connected.

In both Tuscaloosa rape cases — the 1991 rape of a University of Alabama student and the 2001 rape of a real estate agent — Higgins was known to be in Tuscaloosa to judge the International Horn Competition which was hosted at the University of Alabama on the same week as the rapes.

Investigators believe Higgins may have committed more rapes throughout his life as he traveled across the country.