Man accused of brutal rape in Advance makes first court appearance

Steve Rendleman
Steve Rendleman

STODDARD COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - The man accused in a brutal rape in Advance made his first court appearance on Thursday in Stoddard County.

Steve Rendleman faces eight charges including forcible rape, sodomy, kidnapping, and felonious restraint.

It was an emotional morning for the victim's mother, sister, and about a dozen of her friends as Steve Rendleman made his way into the court room.

Heartland News reporter, Holly Brantley, asked if he had anything to say as he walked from the jail, and he did not respond.

Rendleman faces eight charges in connection with a rape that allegedly happened over the weekend.

In court, he told the judge he is on disability so he can't afford an attorney. Judge Satterfield however, told him to do his best to get one and return on April 5.

The victim's mother says as hard as it is, she will be in court every time Rendleman makes an appearance in support of her daughter.

"I'm appalled we will be here each and every day he's in court to support my daughter," said Debbie Rhodes. "He should never walk this earth again he should always be behind bars."

According to court papers, Rendleman left Charley Brown's Bar in Advance Saturday night with the victim in his truck, took her to Liberty Hill Cemetery and raped her. Records say deputies showed up during the assault, and the woman ran to the patrol car screaming he's raping me.

"The officer went above and beyond," said Rhodes. "I think he saved her life."

According to court records, hospital tests found blood under the victim's fingernails.  She later told deputies she tried to stab Rendleman with an ink pen to fight him off.

"I just want to say I find it amazing this monster was allowed to walk the streets," said Rhodes.

Authorities say Rendleman has several prior convictions and now, family and friends are calling for tougher laws against convicted sex offenders.

"So it's time to do something and put him away for good and not let him attack again," said Brenda Hawkins, a family friend.

Rendleman is due in court again in early April.  And this group says they plan to have an even larger crowd here to support their friend. 

Meanwhile Debbie Rhodes says her daughter is recovering as best she can with a lot of love and support around here.

"She will heal by the grace of God she's alive," said Rhodes. "She will heal but it's just going to take time."

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Convicted rapist accused of brutal rape near Advance