DNA traces helped police identify, arrest, and jail a Frenchman suspected of 34 rapes or attempted rapes in a suburban Paris forest from 1995 to 2001. Deputy prosecutor Bertrand Daillie told the AP the victims were between the ages of 27 and 72. The 40-year-old man was arrested Monday at his home in Roubaix in northern France. During questioning, the suspect said he didn't deny the facts but that he did not remember committing the crimes, Daillie said. The analysis of his DNA following his arrest was matched with the DNA found on the 34 victims, Daillie said. He said the man was identified through the same DNA found on rape victims and genetic material from one of the suspect's brothers listed in French criminal databases.
The suspect, who was born and raised in Paris' suburb of Corbeil-Essonnes, was married and a father. The authorities didn't make his identity public. The man was 20 to 26 when the attacks on the women occurred in the Senart Forest, south of Paris, near his then-home of Corbeil-Essonnes. Multiple victims say the attacker drove his small motorcycle across the forest paths, targeted them when they were alone, and assaulted them while still wearing a helmet. The arrest of the suspect revives hope of a conclusion to one of France's biggest unsolved criminal cases. For years, fear of a serial rapist haunted the suburban region of the Senart Forest. If convicted, the suspect would face up to 15 years in prison.