Police say DNA evidence links suspect with three 2014 Capitol Hill rapes

(Image: SPD)

Armed with new DNA evidence, police have released a forensic sketch of a suspect they believe could be responsible for three 2014 rapes on Capitol Hill including an attack that took place in the Miller Community Center parking lot that July.

Seattle Police released the sketch and announced the renewed investigation Wednesday:

The three assaults were reported to police in February and July of 2014. Three women reported that they had walking alone around 2 or 3 am on Capitol Hill when a man pulled up in a dark colored Ford or Chevy SUV and offered them a ride. At the time of the initial investigation in 2014, detectives were unable to identify a suspect due to varying descriptions from the victims, or establish a conclusive link between the three cases.

However, with new DNA evidence, investigators now believe one man is responsible for all three incidents. In early 2015, Seattle police submitted DNA evidence to the crime lab. In late 2017, the lab linked the unidentified suspect’s DNA profile to the three 2014 cases. After receiving notification from the Crime Lab, a Seattle Police Department detective re-interviewed each of the victims and obtained further details and information, furthering investigators’ belief that a single unknown suspect was responsible for the crimes.

Police say that as the interview was renewed this year, the victim in this July 2014 attack provided new information “indicating the assaults took place in the SUV in the Miller Park Community Center parking lot.”

With information from one of the victims, police were able to compile the sketch. The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern male in his late 20s to early 30s, shorter than 6 feet tall with a thin to average build and dark complexion. The suspect spoke with an accent.

In the July 2014 attack, CHS reported the victim told police she was visiting from Texas and unfamiliar with the area but said she knew the driver was not taking her in the right direction. During the ride she told police the suspect turned off to an unknown park on Capitol Hill, pulled her out of the car, and raped her.

The woman told police she was afraid the man would kill her if she didn’t do what he said. After pleading with the suspect to drop her off anywhere, he left her at 15th and Thomas. The victim knocked on a door of a nearby house and told a resident she had been raped. The resident did not let her in and called police.

When police arrived they noted the victim’s knees were cut and it appeared that her blouse had been ripped. The victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Police initially said the woman had used an app-based car share to hail the ride, but later determined the driver was not affiliated with any company.

SPD says its Crime Analysis Unit has also conducted a review to search for additional cases that match the profile of these assaults. “None have been found at this time and no other cases have been linked through DNA,” SPD reports.

Police are urging anyone with information on this individual to contact SPD’s Sexual Assault Unit at (206) 684-5575.


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