Crime: Rape suspect arrested in 1990s cold cases after familial DNA leads investigators to twin brother - PressFrom - US

CrimeRape suspect arrested in 1990s cold cases after familial DNA leads investigators to twin brother

11:06  12 january  2019
11:06  12 january  2019 Source:

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Rape suspect arrested in 1990s cold cases after familial DNA leads investigators to twin brother© Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP This undated booking photo provided by the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff's Office shows Kevin Konther. Authorities say they arrested Konther, 53, suspected of raping a 9-year-old girl and a woman in Southern California during the 1990s, after identifying him through genealogical DNA. Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 that investigators modeled their probe after the Golden State Killer case. (Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP) Investigators have arrested a man on suspicion of raping two victims — a 9-year-old girl walking home from the store and a woman jogger, both 1990s cold cases from Orange County — after genealogical data led them to the suspect’s home in Highland.

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Investigators made the arrest after collecting his DNA from a napkin he used at a restaurant. Then in May 2018, investigators used genetic genealogy to narrow their search. They were able to create a family tree and identified two brothers who shared enough similar DNA .

Initially, authorities took both Kevin Konther, 53, and his twin brother into custody. But while technological advances helped officials to identify them, it was “good, old-fashioned detective work” that’s credited with pinning down the suspect, according to Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes.

“We are confident we have the individual,” he added, though he would not say what additional evidence was involved.

Konther is accused of an Oct. 21, 1995 attack in Lake Forest, in which a girl was grabbed and pulled into a wooded area at Serrano Creek Park and raped, Barnes said. The attack occurred 10 days before Halloween, and the child had been buying pencils and paper at a convenience store. She ran home and told her parents about the assault, and they called the Sheriff’s Department.

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Officials collected DNA evidence, but no match was found in databases at the time. Detectives worked with the girl to create a detailed sketch of her attacker.

The second attack occurred June 2, 1998, in Mission Viejo. A woman, 31, was jogging along a trail near El Toro Road and Marguerite Parkway when a man grabbed her from behind, pulled her into some bushes and raped her, Barnes said.

The woman ran for help, and a passerby alerted the Sheriff’s Department. DNA matched that of the attacker in the 1995 case, according to officials — but detectives still had no lead to point them to help them find the perpetrator.

Authorities continued to screen the DNA through law enforcement databases operated by sheriff’s investigators and the Orange County Crime Lab numerous times over the past 23 years, while detectives kept digging into the cases, all without luck.

In August 2018, investigators, partnering with the FBI’s Investigative Genealogy Team, submitted DNA from the rapes and applied techniques similar to those used to catch the Golden State Killer. The genealogy data led them to identical twin brothers.

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A 55-year-old man has been arrested in a 31-year-old cold case involving a young couple murdered in Washington state. “Yesterday’s arrest shows how powerful it can be to combine new DNA technology with the relentless determination of detectives.”

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On Thursday, authorities arrested both siblings based on probable cause, according to Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer — until “shoe leather” detective work zeroed in on Kevin Konther, who had been living in south Orange County at the time of the attacks. Officials released the other brother.

Konther was booked into the Orange County Jail on two counts of felony rape, oral copulation with a person under 14, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, and aggravated sexual assault. He is being held on $1-million bail and scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

If convicted on all counts, Konther faces 125 years to life in prison.

Spitzer said his team is still reviewing the arrest and more charges could be forthcoming.

Officials contacted both victims, now adults — the younger one was shocked by the arrest, according to Barnes, while the other woman was “elated.”

“We will never stop attempting to solve these cases,” Barnes said. “That commitment does not have a time limit.”

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Twitter: @newsterrier

Officer hears woman whisper, ‘help me,’ finds rape suspect in closet, police say.
A police officer happened to be in the right place at the right time to rescue the victim of a violent rape, and to find her attacker hiding in a closet, according to Gastonia police. (Archive video above: Upstate woman writes about escaping abuse) Cpl. Brandon Putnam was making a routine subpoena delivery on Saturday in a past domestic violence case at a home in Gastonia. “Like any other day, go to the door, knock on the door,” he said. “I knocked several times -- no answer.” Putman said as he started to walk back to his car, the front door frame cracked open and a woman came out.

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