Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Answers to some questions raised in ongoing serial rapist investigation

Police continue to expand their investigation of the man who has sexually assaulted five women in the Waldo and Brookside areas since last fall. To accommodate the ever-growing operation, the whole investigation was moved out of the Sex Crimes offices here in Headquarters to the City’s Emergency Operations Center. We're now working 733 tips that have been submitted as of today.

An investigation of this size is bound to bring a lot of scrutiny. A few points to make:

First, detectives have talked to literally hundreds of people in this case. That does not mean the people they interview are considered suspects, persons of interest or anything of the sort. It is their duty to track down every lead they find, and they wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t.

Second, in the course of this investigation and many others like it, police have asked the people they’ve interviewed if they’d like to give a voluntary DNA sample. This is a DNA buccal swab, obtained by swabbing the inside of someone’s cheek with a swab like a Q-Tip to obtain cheek – or buccal – cells for comparative DNA analysis. It’s simple and non-invasive. This is a very standard, routine, investigative procedure. We ask many of the people we interview in most sex crimes and homicide cases if they’d like to give a DNA sample, often to eliminate them as a possible suspect.

And finally, a word about the composite sketch. When we first released it, we put out this disclaimer:

A composite is not a portrait of one person, but a grouping of characteristics to put people into a category that narrows the search and eliminates other groups. It is intended to place the focus on a smaller grouping of individuals.

That is very true. The sketch is not intended to be a picture of the suspect. It’s to put together all the things we know of what the suspect looks like into one place. So please keep that in mind any time you see the picture. And if you have any information that could solve this case, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477) or the Sex Crimes Section at 816-234-5220.

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