Killer Struck 24 Years Ago. Now, a New Sketch

Police in Maryland use DNA phenotyping in hunt for new leads
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2018 9:03 AM CDT
Sketch of Alleged Rapist, Killer Comes From His Own DNA
The attacker, imagined at age 25, left, and 45.   (Montgomery County Police)

Police in Maryland hope to track down a rapist and murderer who struck decades ago with an image crafted using his own DNA. After 42-year-old Le Bich-Thuy was raped and strangled after leaving Rockville's Twinbrook Metro station in 1994, DNA recovered from the scene was found to match DNA in the 1989 rape of a 52-year-old woman who'd departed the same station, reports the Washington Post. But "I don't think he did this just two or three times. This guy was targeting women in that area for at least five years," says Sgt. Chris Homrock, pointing to one case in which a woman escaped an attempted rapist days before Bich-Thuy's murder. To finally catch the attacker, police turned to Parabon NanoLabs, a Virginia-based company specializing in DNA phenotyping, reports Bethesda Magazine.

Two computer-generated images were created using predictions of the suspect's ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. Released Monday, they show how the suspect—white, with blue eyes and no freckles—might have appeared at ages 25 and 45. In a statement, per WTOP, Montgomery County police stress the composites "are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance." Still, anyone who recognizes the man is asked to call the Major Crimes Division. "We're looking for any new information, anything these images might prompt someone to remember," says Homrock, noting "the common theme of these cases is they all start at the Twinbrook Metro." A reward of up to $10,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest, reports Fox 5. (In another cold case, police are using Twitter in a novel way.)

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