FBI and Local Law Enforcement Seek Information on D.C.-Area Serial Hotel Rapist
DNA Links Six of Nine Attacks That Took Place From 1998-2006
WASHINGTON – The FBI Washington Field Office along with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Montgomery County Police Department, Prince George’s County Police Department, Arlington County Police Department, and Greenbelt Police Department seek information from the public to identify an unknown male named the “D.C.-Area Hotel Rapist.”
Between August 22, 1998 and February 6, 2006, a serial rapist violently assaulted six to nine women in the D.C. area. Six of these attacks have been definitively linked by DNA to a single assailant, and suspicious activity that may be related was reported in five additional area hotels.
In the vast majority of these cases, hotel housekeepers were victimized. The assailant would enter hotel rooms by stealth and rape housekeepers as they cleaned rooms. In several of the incidents, the suspect used a box cutter, a necktie, or a cord to threaten and harm his victims. These assaults took place at hotels in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The D.C.-Area Hotel Rapist is described as an African-American male, between 5’7”-5’10” tall, with a medium to stocky build, brown eyes, black hair, and a medium to dark complexion. At the time of the assaults, he was believed to be in his 20s to 30s. Since time has progressed, he is believed to be in his late 30s to late 40s.
On May 1, 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia secured an indictment of the DNA profile of the unknown suspect on charges stemming from the two attacks that took place in Washington, D.C. This is the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has ever indicted a John Doe DNA profile.
“Working with the public and our law enforcement partners, we are hopeful that we finally will be able to hold this serial rapist accountable for his brazen crimes,” said Jessie K. Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “DNA evidence has enabled us to push this case forward and we are hopeful that this DNA profile, and the community, can help us finally achieve justice. Despite the passage of time, we have never forgotten these victims.”
“This individual preyed on members of the D.C. region for nearly a decade,” says Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Peter Newsham. “We have not deviated from our goal of holding this person accountable for his heinous actions and feel confident that our recent progress will lead to his identification.”
“With the turn of the century, we can now reach back in time, up to two decades ago, and hold criminals accountable, and thus is the case going forward,” said Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
“Today law enforcement in the Metropolitan Washington area sent a clear message that we will not waiver in our commitment to investigate and identify the individual responsible for these horrible attacks on our community. No matter how much time passes, we will relentlessly pursue these investigations and use all available resources to identify this sexual predator and seek justice for the victims,” said Daniel Murray, Arlington County Police Department Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations.
The first of these DNA-linked cases occurred in May 2002 on the street in the offender’s vehicle in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
The age-progressed composite sketch, which was created by Parabon NanoLabs, was not created by eyewitness accounts but from DNA that was left behind by the offender. This type of DNA testing uses DNA to produce a detailed report and composite sketch of the potential suspect that includes eye color, skin color, hair color, face morphology, and detailed biogeographic ancestry with age progression.
“The Montgomery County Police Department has used Parabon NanoLabs as an investigative tool in several cases. When our Cold Case Unit begin working on this serial rapist case with the other neighboring agencies we felt strongly that this could be a great tool to generate new investigative leads and help solve these horrific crimes,” said Thomas Manger, Chief of the Montgomery County Police Department.
The FBI and local law enforcement are asking for the public’s help to solve this cold case.
“Our combined law enforcement efforts include the work that was done at each scene, the work of the prosecutors to bring forth this indictment and now a public outreach effort seeking information on this violent assailant,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI Washington Field Office's Criminal Division. “If you recognize this person, if this box cutter or ring are familiar, if you have seen these items before, we need you to call law enforcement and provide the information. The public's assistance is vital in solving this case.”
The DNA evidence from the linked assaults can either positively identify or exclude a suspect. This allows investigators to quickly exclude innocent parties, and the public should not hesitate to come forward with information—even if it is the name or address of an individual who resided in the areas of the crimes. Many parties will be quickly excluded by a simple, non-invasive test.
A combined reward of up to $45,000 is being offered by the FBI, Metropolitan Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Prince George’s Police Department, Greenbelt Police Department, and Arlington County Police Department for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the unknown suspect.
A detailed map and related story that includes addresses of the incidents, an original 2003 composite sketch of the assailant, an age-progressed DNA composite of the assailant, and images of the box cutter and ring that were recovered from the crime scenes are available on the FBI’s website.
Law enforcement agencies are asking anyone with information to contact the Metropolitan Police Department at (202) 727-9099, text the MPD Text Tip Line at 50411, or submit a tip with the FBI at tips.fbi.gov. All tips can remain anonymous.
The dates and locations of these assaults are:
LINKED BY DNA
- Sunday, May 26, 2002, at approximately 6:50 a.m. An 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in the offender’s vehicle on the 4000 block of Penwood Street in Hyattsville, Maryland, after having been picked up from the 3400 block of Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast Washington, D.C. The vehicle was described as a small black four-door car, unknown make and model.
- Sunday, December 1, 2002, at approximately 2:30 p.m. A 31-year-old female housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a hotel room at the Hilton Hotel on Colesville Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. During the assault, the offender brandished a red-handled box cutter, which was recovered on the scene. The box cutter had the name Debbie handwritten on it.
- Sunday, May 11, 2003, at approximately 3:15 p.m. A 27-year-old female housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a hotel room at the Renaissance Hotel on 9th Street in Northwest Washington, D.C. The offender’s ring came off during the assault and was recovered on the scene.
- Friday, May 23, 2003, at approximately 10:30 a.m. A 68-year-old female housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a hotel room at the Jefferson Hotel on 16th Street in Northwest Washington, D.C. The offender bound the victim’s hands with a necktie during the assault.
- Friday, June 6, 2003, at approximately 10:00 a.m. A 29-year-old female housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a hotel room at the Holiday Inn Hotel on Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Virginia. The offender brandished a cord during the assault.
- Monday, June 9, 2003, at approximately 12:28 p.m. A 22-year-old female housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a hotel room at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel on Golden Triangle Drive in Greenbelt, Maryland.
OTHER SEXUAL ASSAULTS AND INCIDENTS THAT MAY BE RELATED
- Saturday, August 22, 1998, at approximately 12:05 p.m. A 30-year-old female housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a hotel room at the Quality Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
- Wednesday, May 28, 2003, at approximately 10:30 a.m. A suspicious person was observed at a Hyatt Hotel on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia.
- Wednesday, May 28, 2003, at approximately 10:45 a.m. A suspicious person was observed in the Marriott Courtyard Hotel on Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia approximately 15 minutes after the Hyatt Hotel incident (0.2 miles away).
- Monday, June 9, 2003, at approximately 12:13 p.m. A suspicious person was observed at a Residence Inn Hotel in Greenbelt, Maryland. The suspect was questioned by an employee and exited the hotel 10 minutes later. This activity occurred 15 minutes prior to the DNA-linked attack at the Marriott Courtyard (0.1 mile away).
- Friday, June 13, 2003, at approximately 11:00 a.m. A suspicious person was observed trying to open doors on various floors at the Marriott Hotel on Russell Avenue in Gaithersburg, Maryland, then hastily fleeing The individual was observed leaving the scene in a black Nissan Sentra.
- Friday, June 13, 2003, at approximately 12:10 p.m. Two housekeepers reported that they observed a suspicious person at the Sheraton Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The housekeepers stated that the individual resembled the suspect who was portrayed in a flyer circulated by the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C.
- Sunday, February 13, 2005, at approximately 11:27 a.m. A 34-year-old woman was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in a hotel room at the Quality Inn Hotel on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland.
- Monday, February 6, 2006, at approximately 3:40 p.m. A 28-year-old female housekeeper was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in a hotel room at the Red Roof Inn on Richmond Highway in Alexandria, Virginia.