A DNA analysis performed by the State Bureau of Investigation established that one man is responsible for five rapes that occurred in Raleigh during 2003 and 2004 and one rape that occurred in Greenville in 2005, Raleigh police said in a statement Friday.
"The technology now exists to go back to that old case and use today's technology to solve it," said Jim Sughrue, spokesperson for the Raleigh Police Department.
Some of the Raleigh crimes had been tentatively connected previously through the man's motive and physical description, and a news release was issued in September of 2004.
The release included a composite photo of the rapist. Both the release and the composite issued in 2004 were released again by police on Friday, along with a composite produced after a 2003 case.
The rapist's description has varied somewhat. He is a black man of medium to dark complexion who was described by victims as being between his late 20s or late 30s, police said. Height estimates have generally varied from 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, but some estimates have ranged as high as 6 feet.
Some of his victims have said he was of "stocky" or "solid" build but not obese, and some have said his appearance was disheveled and that he might have been a homeless individual, police said in a statement released Friday.
While some details of the rapist's facial appearance differ in the two composites, his hairstyle is distinctively similar, police said. However, police say it's important to note that the victim of the 2005 Greenville rape -- the most recent case -- described him as being bald when that crime was committed.
Also, the Greenville victim said that he had grown a moustache and had hair on his chin.
The dates and locations of the Raleigh cases are as follows: · August 24, 2003 -- Sunday, about 2 a.m. The victim was raped on a greenway in the area of the 700 block of McMaken Street. · October 17, 2003 -- Friday, about 7 a.m. The victim was raped in a wooded area near a parking lot in the area of 1100 North Raleigh Boulevard. · August 24, 2004 -- Tuesday, between about 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. The victim was raped in an abandoned apartment at 1308-A South State Street. · September 11, 2004 -- Saturday, about 9 p.m. The victim was raped on a greenway in the area of the 700 block of Peterson Street. · September 16, 2004 --Thursday, approximately 1 a.m. The victim was raped in an abandoned apartment at 1300-C South State Street. · The Greenville rape linked to the suspect occurred between approximately 3:30 to 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 12, 2005. The victim was raped while inside a vehicle on a dead-end road off West Third Street.
Dianne O'Neil lives down the street from where two of the rapes happened. She's worried he may strike again. "
I just hope they do catch him, before someone is hurt to the point of no return," said O'Neil.
SBI special agents and intelligence analysts have worked with Raleigh and Greenville detectives on the cases, and the SBI has established a multi-district task force.
Linking the Raleigh cases to the case in Greenville could prompt tips from the public that will lead to the identification of a suspect, police said.
"The link could be very valuable," said Major Ken Mathias, the commander of the RPD's Detective Division. "Combined with the composites and other suspect information, the fact that the same man committed crimes in two cities may prompt someone to think about a potential suspect who resembles the composite and has spent time in Raleigh and Greenville."
Positively linking the five cases resulted from the SBI's ongoing testing of rape kits from across the state that potentially contain DNA evidence, Raleigh police said. If DNA can be extracted from a particular kit, it is checked against other cases and against various databases to see if any matches can be established.
"DNA can provide irrefutable evidence," Mathias said. "And it can bring suspects to justice to answer for their crimes. We've seen that before, and we would like nothing better than to see it in these cases."
Anyone with information that might be helpful is asked to call the
SBI at (800) 334-3000
Raleigh Police Department at (919) 890-3555
Greenville Police Department at (252) 329-4348
CrimeStoppers in either city can also be called to provide tips - the Raleigh CrimeStoppers number is (919) 226-CRIME, and Greenville-Pitt CrimeStoppers can be reached at (252) 758-7777
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