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Potomac River Rapist; 17 years later, where the FBI stands

Sketch of the alleged Potomac River Rapist.

Christine Mirzayan was here in Washington, D.C. on a fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences. She was also newly married.

But on a summer evening in 1998, while walking along Canal Road, the Potomac River Rapist snatched her off the sidewalk, never to be seen again.

Police say Mirzayan was sexually assaulted and killed when the serial rapist hit her in the head with a 70-plus pound rock. She was screaming.

Because she was making so much noise, police now believe that is perhaps why he killed her.

“[We] want to put this back in the public’s eye; to jars someone’s memory,” D.C. Police Homicide Lieutenant Christopher Kauffman said in a sit-down interview with 7 On Your Side Investigator Jennifer Donelan.

A steadfast investigation over the years led to a DNA hit, matching her killer to the rapes of at least nine other women beginning in 1991.

Eight of the victims live in Montgomery County, one in Northwest D.C.

The last known case was Mirzayan, raped and bludgeoned to death. Then, the Potomac River Rapist disappeared.

This Saturday, Aug. 1, marks the 17-year-anniversary, and police say they are still following active leads and working hard to solve her murder and find the Potomac River Rapist.

“We don’t forget. We have a long memory,” FBI Special Agent Dave Levalley said. “We want to bring this Potomac River Rapist to justice. We want justice for Christine Mirzayan, and the other women who were attacked.”

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