MANASSAS, Va. – A serial rapist responsible for more than a dozen sexual assaults along the East Coast in the last 12 years has been linked to the rapes of two teenage trick-or-treaters on Halloween in Virginia, police said Wednesday.
The rapes of the two 17-year-old girls Oct. 31 in Woodbridge were the first attacks linked to the individual in the D.C. area in nearly eight years, though DNA evidence suggests he has been active in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Authorities believe the unique timeline could provide clues in identifying a suspect, and they are hoping the public can help them find the attacker. Most of the rapes occurred between 1997 and 2001 in the D.C. suburbs. After a five-year hiatus, the man was linked by DNA to a peeping-Tom incident in 2006 in Cranston, R.I., and a 2007 rape in New Haven, Conn.
"Someone knows this offender. Someone recognizes this pattern of behavior," said David Rohrer, police chief in Fairfax County, where authorities believe the attacker is responsible for three rapes and an attempted rape in the Alexandria area between 1999 and 2001.
The first rape was in Forestville, Md., in 1997. It was one of six rapes in Prince George's County linked to the attacker between 1997 and 2001.
The victims have been of various races and ranged in age from 14 to 41. Most were threatened with a knife or a handgun. The suspect is described as a black man with a medium build in his mid 30s to early 40s.
Prince William Police Chief Charlie Deane said local authorities have worked with the FBI to develop a profile, but he declined to discuss any analysis related to the profile. He and the other chiefs were reluctant to speculate on why there was a five-year break in the assaults, though they acknowledged the suspect could have been in prison or out of the country.
They also said they suspect the man is responsible for other crimes that they have not been able to link to him through DNA evidence.