Cops: Serial Rapists Who Struck in 1990s Found With Genealogy

Including the so-called 'Potomac River Rapist'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2019 10:50 AM CST
Serial Rapist Nabbed After Tossing Ice Cream Spoon: Cops
Giles Daniel Warrick.   (Horry County via AP)

Police say two serial rapists have been caught—one in California and one in South Carolina—thanks to genetic genealogy. Giles Daniel Warrick, accused of sexually assaulting 10 women and killing one in Washington, DC, and Maryland in the 1990s, was arrested last week in Conway, SC, after authorities connected DNA from crime scenes to relatives using genealogy companies, reports USA Today. Warwick, 60—who police say was confirmed as the "Potomac River Rapist" through a cheek swab, per the AP—would "cut the phone lines, force entry into homes, cover the victims' heads, and sexually assault them" beginning in May 1991, according to police in Montgomery County, Md. His alleged crimes grew more violent leading up to the rape and murder of Christine Mirzayan, a young biochemist who was fatally beaten with a 73-pound rock in DC in 1998.

The second suspect, accused of sexually assaulting two women in the California cities of Union City and Livermore in 1997, was identified through public genetic databases before police were able to collect DNA from a Baskin-Robbins spoon he discarded, Alameda County District Attorney's Office said Monday, per ABC News. The DNA of Gregory Paul Vien of Livermore, also 60, matched that recovered in the two cases, in which women were attacked in public. One was pulled from the bleachers at Livermore High School and held down. Police have acknowledged the privacy debate around genetic genealogy technology, used in dozens of other cases, but say the rewards outweigh the risks. As Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones puts it, per USA Today, "it's public information" and "we are now able to give victims ... a little bit of justice." (More serial rapists stories.)

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