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Police looking for serial rapist

Update, 3:25 p.m.: A masked man who raped two Prince William teenagers who were trick-or-treating Halloween night has been linked to a string of sexual assaults up and down the east coast that span more than a decade.

Police said the serial rapist's DNA has been found at 13 crime scenes in four states. In addition to the Halloween assault, they say he attacked four women in Fairfax County, four women in Prince George's County and one in Leesburg. He also is linked to assaults in Connecticut and Rhode Island. The earliest occurred in 1997.

The Post has produced a map illustrating the suspect's D.C. area assaults and attempted assaults.

Police officials from four jurisdictions pleaded for the public’s help to identify the man. While they have known his genetic fingerprint for at least seven years, efforts to attach a name have hit frustrating dead ends.

“We are asking the public to think and look at people they know, whether it is a loved one, a friend, a family member,” said Fairfax County Police Chief David M. Rohrer, who said the spate of crimes helped lead to the formation of the department’s sex crimes cold case unit. “This violent offender is now back.”

As is common in stranger sexual assaults, the descriptions the victims were able to provide of the assailant are vague: black male, medium build in his 30’s or 40’s. The man often was masked or wore a hoodie, and many of the assaults occurred in the dark. He has used a gun, a knife and a screwdriver to overpower his victims.

Police officials said the rapist’s travels from state to state could be the best hope of finding him. Investigators think the man lived in, or is at least familiar with, the areas where he has attacked.

The assaults started on Feb. 19, 1997 when a 25-year-old woman walking on Marlboro Pike in Forestville was approached by a man with a gun who raped her. In the months that folowed, similar attacks followed in Suitland and Temple Hills.

They think he may have grown up in Prince George’s County, perhaps in the Forestville area where the first known attacks occurred.

-- Maria Glod

Earlier Post:

Police have linked the rape of two girls who were trick-or-treating in Dale City on Halloween to a series of sexual assaults that have taken place up and down the east coast since 1997.

At a news conference going on now, Prince William and Fairfax police say the Halloween rapes are linked to at least four rapes in Fairfax County between 1999 and 2001, several in Prince George's County, one in Leesburg and several in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Police used DNA to make the connections to at least 12 rapes in all.

In the Prince William assault, police say three teenage Dale City girls returning from a night of trick-or-treating were forced into the woods, where two of them were sexually assaulted by an unknown man.

The three girls were walking near Glendale Plaza on Dale Boulevard about 9 p.m. when they were approached by a man with a gun, Prince William County police said at the time. The man ordered the girls to lie on the ground in a wooded area and then raped a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old in the group, police said. The third girl, 16, was not sexually assaulted.

The Fairfax assaults all occurred in the Alexandria area of the county, mainly on the Route 1 corridor.

The first was on June 19, 1999. The others were on Jan. 13, 2000, Nov, 20, 2000 and Dec. 28, 2001. The victims were 19, 18, 35 and 29. The 35-year-old fought off the attacker, police said.

The Leesburg attack occured in 2001 inside an apartment. That is similar to the assults in New Haven, Conn., which occurred in 2006 and 2007 inside people's homes.

Most of this information comes from news clips and interviews with police officers and more information is expected after the news conference ends.

Initial descriptions of the attacker have varied, but he described as a black man, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10, with a medium to muscular build. In the New Haven attacks, some victims said he spoke with an accent that sounded as though he may have been from the West Indies.

-- The Editors

By Washington Post editors  |  December 16, 2009; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Personal Safety , Pr. George's , Pr. William , The Region , Unsolved  
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When you catch him, FRY HIM,

Posted by: McD56 | December 16, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Why is this information just now coming out?

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 16, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

OK, I have to ask. Why are 16 & 17 yr. olds out trick or treating? I know it has nothing to do with being raped but I'm just askin'.

Posted by: Rocketlamb | December 16, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Wapo actually printed the race of the suspect in a violent crime.

How unusual!

Posted by: kenk3 | December 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes hi there this is delephine.hamm and I would like to state that if the laws were much more strict there may not be any rapes happening in this country.

A few years or less, is not enough and maybe men should as well be castrated although the evidence to that might make them do murder.

It's a shame the victim has to suffer the indecent and immoral disrespect from the rude and crude court of which should treat the violator badly instead.

Thanks and have a great day.

Posted by: delephinehamm | December 16, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

All violent criminals, Rapists and Murderer need to be Executed summarily. Why waste money on prisons and keeping these worthless useless creatures alive? If freed, they will only commit the same crimes again and again, ask Huckabee about that. EXECUTE these creatures! Streamline the Death Penalty, there are too many appeals. EXECUTE these idiots and move on. The world is safer when these idiots are removed permanently, not by arming every citizen.

Posted by: mawt | December 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

When they catch him they should tie him to a pole douse him with gas and set him on fire. Film it and air it on TV.

Posted by: askgees | December 16, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

mawt, you should consider running for office. With that kind of policy on crime I'd vote for you in a heartbeat.

Posted by: clancrs | December 16, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Actually, im the aunt of one of the girls who was attacked and it doesn't matter how old they are; they are kids just like everyone else they wanted to enjoy halloween. It doesn't have a deg on thing to do with getting assaulted rocketlamb, so why you even ask that. The fact of the matter is they were assualted. Do you think all the other women who were assualted had to be doing something that was out of the ordinary to be assualted..No.. So kids having fun on halloween shouldn't make any difference either.

Also knight1977 your a sick person yourself i did not find that amusing at all of what you said, I'm glad they deleted it.

So if that punk sucker is reading this, I hope you try to come around my neighborbood because I would do u a favor that all the women you attacked would like to do.

MAWT i agree with you totally.

Posted by: chermon22 | December 16, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Washington Post, how about a timeline on a map to help people figure out that they happen to know someone who fits the pattern? Just throwing dates around in a few paragraphs is only marginally helpful.

Posted by: JoeOvercoat | December 16, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The social security administration could narrow it down to a few hundred men. A selection of everyone who worked in the two areas at the specific times would be a big list, but then subtract out just men, then just blacks (from drivers' license records), then just 30 to 40, and there would be a workable list of suspects.

Public safety requires it, Chief.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 16, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Have the cops interviewed Cap'n Crunch?

Posted by: pgr88 | December 16, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Imagine if they identified a black male 35 years old whose social security records showed credits to his account from an employer in a northeast Connecticut zip code in 2006/7 and whose first job 20 years ago was in a nearby Forestville, Maryland zip code.

A Google-type search in the government records this afternoon could prevent the rape of an innocent woman tomorrow.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 16, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

9-1-1 okay...

...3-5-7 better

Posted by: srb2 | December 16, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Mawt, I would agree with you in principle but our justice system is just too flawed to do something like that. Just look at the number of people being released from jail because DNA evidence proved that they were innocent. Just recently, it was proven that a man executed for killing his family was actually innocent.

There are just too many overzealous prosecutors more concerned with getting a conviction then finding out who actually committed crime. For every Duke Lacrosse player who avoided being wrongly convicted there are dozens of similarly innocent men sitting in jail waiting on the appeal process to work. Unfortunately, most of these men are minorities and all are poor and unable to afford good attorneys.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | December 16, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Hamm, you have not looked into the behaviors of castrated rapists. Rape is a crime of power and control. Many chemically castrated "former rapists" ended up using implements to violate victims. Castration is not the solution.

Posted by: CmaryC | December 16, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The fact is rape is NOT the crime murder or even stealing is.Little is lost but a bit of dignity.Police resources should be used for more serious crimes.

Posted by: hyroller56 | December 16, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Find the gorilla and lock him up!

Posted by: tmi1 | December 16, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Nobody could possibly be as crude or insensitive as the comment posted by hyroller56 ... obviously just trying to stir the pot.

Posted by: Mike40 | December 16, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, hyroller56, you're something. "Little is lost [in rape] but a bit of dignity"? Stealing is a greater crime than rape?

Find some firsthand accounts of rape and read them. Read the book "Lucky." Dignity is not all that is lost. "Rape" is not just another word for "romantic interlude."

Posted by: TheBeeInMyBonnet | December 16, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Why is the vagina so sacred in america?

In history ,every culture that has become female dominated has experienced a rapid decline.The USA has become female dominated for the last 40 years.A generation of single mom parasites demanding their freedom...while taking gov handouts to support their lifestyle

Show me a single mom and I'll show you a parasite draining the system. Single moms somehow feel they can breed all they want and our (sick) society rewards them for their sick behavior with programs such as WIC,foodstamps,Medicaid,etc.More idiots and cannon fodder bred for the army and minimum wage jobs.The plutocracy MUST continue ! Single moms somehow have the narcissistic assumption that one is "entitled" to "the experience" of childbearing.

Posted by: hyroller56 | December 16, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

fr hyroller56:

>...The fact is rape is NOT the crime murder or even stealing is.Little is lost but a bit of dignity...<

Get a flippin' life and grow UP. RAPE is indeed a crime that can result in DEATH.

Posted by: Alex511 | December 16, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope this isn't another one of the career criminal rapist Rev. Huckabee let out. He said he let many others out of jail early because all those murders to then Gov. Huckabee they had found Jesus and that was enough for Gov. Huckabee to let them out. We now know one of these guys assassinated 4 police officers and was about to assassinate children going to school. Just think if Rev. Huckabee had become US President he would have let Federal career criminals out and we'd have more crime by US jailbirds then terrorist.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | December 16, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

hyroller, your mother is calling you come upstairs for dinner.

How's life in her basement?

Posted by: dlkimura | December 16, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Some people get a huge charge out of posting the most outrageous statements they can just to see the reactions. Don't reward 'em.

Posted by: kls1 | December 16, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

based on the map, and the fact that this guy has remained below the radar for so long...

it's obvious...

the guy is in law enforcement. he's probably a cop in the DC metro, VA area.

problem is matching the DNA with cop DNA... now if they had finger prints.. we all know that law enforcement and military personnel... and those with national security clearances .... always get their fingerprints taken...

problem is overcoming... the probable cause statute to run the match..

good luck with that.

Posted by: FranknErnest | December 16, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

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