Montgomery County Police are asking the public’s help to identify a serial rapist who struck five times in the Germantown area between 2010 and 2012.
Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Cold Case Squad continue to investigate six reported residential burglaries and rapes of females that occurred between June 19, 2010, and September 2, 2012, and are believed to have been committed by the same suspect.
Police recently sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in DNA phenotyping: the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Using DNA evidence from body fluids left by the suspect at these rape scenes, Parabon’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service has produced what the company and police refer to as a Snapshot composite depicting how the suspect, in this case, may have looked.
MCPD introduced the use of Parabon’s Snapshot last week when they released a Snapshot composite of the suspect in the March 22, 1992 murder of James Essel at the Sugarloaf Mountain Market in Comus. Today, detectives are hoping the use of the same technology will lead them to the person who broke into the homes of female senior citizens and sexually assaulted or raped five women and returned to rape one victim a second time.
Parabon’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service used the DNA evidence, in this case, body fluids, left by the suspect at the scene to produce trait predictions for the suspect. Individual predictions were made for the subject’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, Snapshot composites were produced depicting what the suspect might look like at a certain age and with a certain body-mass index. The default ages and default BMIs were used because age and BMI cannot be determined from DNA.
Police said that it is important to note that Snapshot composites are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA, and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance. Environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and other non-environmental factors, such as facial hair, hairstyle or scars cannot be predicted by DNA analysis and may cause further variation between the subject’s predicted and actual appearances.
The Snapshot composite of the suspect, estimated in the composite to be 25-years-old, indicates the suspect has 71.2 percent chance of having skin which is brown or dark brown, an 89.8 percent chance of having brown eyes, and an 88.5 percent chance of having black hair. The DNA Phenotyping indicates little chance, 11.9 percent chance, of the suspect having freckles.
Police have also released a sketch created by a victim of one of the sexual assaults that depicts a red baseball hat with white embroidered vines and leaves. The victim reported that the suspect wore this hat during the sexual assault.
The suspect began his series of burglaries and rapes on a little over seven years ago, on June 19, 2010, when he gained entry into a 68-year-old woman’s home in the 20300 block of Beaconfield Terrace in Germantown at 3:20 am and raped her. The suspect left DNA evidence which recovered in this case.
The next attack took place two months later on August 21, 2010, at approximately 4:15 am, when the suspect forced entry into the 86-year-old woman’s home in the 2100 block of Father Hurley Boulevard in Germantown and raped her. Suspect DNA recovered in this case matched the suspect DNA recovered from the June 19, 2010, sexual assault.
Four months later, the suspect returned to the Beaconfield Terrace home of the first 68-year-old victim and raped her again. This took place on January 5, 2011, at 12:45 am. Again DNA evidence matched the DNA evidence from the previous two rapes.
Eight months later in August 2011 police believe he struck again, this time in nearby Gaithersburg. Investigators say on August 28, 2011 at approximately 12:45 am, the rape of a 37-year-old woman occurred after her home was broken into in the 900 block of Clopper Road in Gaithersburg. While DNA evidence recovered from this inciden was inconclusive, police believe it was the same suspect.
About a year later, police believe the suspect raped a 95-year-old woman. On July 31, 2012 at approximately 9:17 pm the suspect broken into in the 2700 block of Avena Street in Wheaton and raped the occupant. No DNA evidence was recovered from this rape.
Police believe the suspect struck again in the Germantown in September of 2012. On September 2, 2012 at approximately 4:10 am, a 54-year-old woman was raped after her home was broken into in the 18100 block of Metz Drive in Germantown. No DNA evidence was recovered from this rape.
With the release of the suspect composite, detectives are hoping someone will recognize the suspect and call the Police Department. Anyone with information regarding the suspect or anyone that believes he/she may have details that might advance this investigation is urged to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect(s). Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Images courtesy MCPD.