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Serial Rape Suspect Arrested After 27 Years

California authorities say they have the 'NorCal Rapist' in custody, thanks to DNA
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2018 8:10 AM CDT
This undated photo released by the Sacramento Police Department shows Roy Charles Waller.   (Sacramento Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – It's taken nearly three decades, but California authorities think they've finally nabbed the "NorCal Rapist." At a Friday presser, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn and Sacramento County DA Anne Marie Schubert said Roy Charles Waller, 58, was arrested Thursday as he showed up to work at UC Berkeley, per the Sacramento Bee. Waller is suspected of committing at least 10 rapes across six different counties between 1991 and 2006. Detective Avis Beery, who's been working the case for more than a decade, tells the Washington Post that the rapist's typical M.O. was to sneak into women's houses (said to usually be Asian women) while they were sleeping, overpower them, and bind them before assaulting them. Sometimes the women would be forced to withdraw money at an ATM, while other times the suspect would simply take things from their homes before he fled.

What finally broke the case open: a genealogy website. Investigators pieced together Waller's ID in "record-setting" time by plugging in DNA from the rapist's crime scenes into GEDmatch—the same site used to find "Golden State Killer" suspect Joseph James DeAngelo. A fairly close match popped up, and from there the sleuths built a family tree that led them to Waller, who matched up with the rapist's age and weight descriptions. Public records also showed Waller had lived in or near the locations where the rapes occurred. After acquiring Waller's DNA via at least one discarded sample, investigators were able to make a match with the crime scene DNA. "I have often said in my career that DNA is the silent witness to the truth," Schubert said at the presser. Waller, who's being held without bail, was charged with 12 counts of forcible sexual assault and is set to be arraigned Monday in Sacramento Superior Court. If convicted, he faces life in prison. (Read more serial rapists stories.)

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