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Laboratory uses serial rapist's DNA left at crime scenes to create vivid facial composite

DNA crafts facial composite of serial rapist suspected of sexually assaulting 5 women. (Photo Credit: Montgomery County Police)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) – A sloppy criminal and advanced science have together generated a facial composite of a man, police say, raped at least five women at random during a two-year period.

In June 2010, a 68-year-old woman awoke to a man pinning a television remote control against her head, meaning for it to feel like a gun. It was 3:20 a.m. The woman had been fast asleep in her bed. The man then ordered the woman not to shout or scream before he proceeded to rape her in the bedroom of the Germantown condo where she lived alone.

Seven months later, in January 2011, the same man broke into the 68-year-old woman's home again, and re-raped her. In both instances, investigators were able to collect DNA evidence, bodily fluids to be more precise.

Montgomery County Police say that man also broke into four other homes between 2010 and 2012, raping five women in total, who at the time of the attacks were, 37, 54, 68, 86 and 95 years old.

It's been seven years since the first reported rape took place, and there is still no arrest to speak of. That harsh reality prompted the Montgomery County Police's Cold Case Squad to recently partner with Reston, Virginia-based, Parabon NanoLabs, which specializes in DNA phenotyping. By definition, that is the process of predicting appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence.

Earlier this year, investigators delivered their vital evidence to Parabon NanoLabs where scientists and technicians examined and processed the DNA before crafting a facial composite using "trait predictions" such as ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling and face shape.

The result is that of a black male suspect, shown at age 25 with an average body-mass index. The suspect, according to Parabon NanoLabs, has a medium-dark complexion, dark brown eyes, black hair and ancestry from western Africa. Depending on the specific feature, the composite’s percentage of confidence ranged from 87.5 to 99.9 percent.

“Our detectives never give up," said Montgomery County Police Department spokesman Rick Goodale. “We’re hoping by putting this picture out, somebody in the area will recognize this guy and give us a call."

This is only the second time that Montgomery County Police has used such a form of modern science, which can cost thousands-of-dollars per suspect. However, law enforcement agencies say the accuracy can be astounding, as seen in other criminal cases nationwide where authorities later arrest a strikingly similar looking individual whose DNA turns out to be a match.

“From our perspective, this is money well spent," officer Goodale added. “It’s fascinating that we've progressed to a point that we can use DNA technology now to create these composites.”

On Thursday, ABC7 News spoke by telephone with the victim raped in Germantown condo on two separate occasions. Now 75 years old and living in a long-term care facility due to physical health complications, the woman expressed satisfaction with the continued pursuit of justice, but the monstrous memories are still wildly vivid.

“I was in bed asleep and I heard my blinds go up, and looked over and the individual was coming through the window feet first," the woman recalled.

The woman had not gotten a chance to view the newly produced composite profile prior to our phone interview, but explained she was anxious to do so.

“I remember what he looked like, definitely. It’s very important to me that he is arrested [because] this individual isn't going to stop, he is going to keep on doing it, and feel good about himself as long as he isn't caught," the victim concluded.

If this facial composite matches an individual you know, you are asked to call the Montgomery County Police's Major Crimes Division at: (240) 773-5070. Investigators are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of this suspect.

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