By the FBI
From 1998 to 2006, a man attacked and raped women in the Washington, D.C. area, often threatening them with weapons.
Although the attacker has not yet been found, the rapist’s DNA profile has been indicted by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., thanks to DNA scientific advances since the crimes occurred.
This is the first time a John Doe DNA profile has been indicted in Washington, D.C.
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, and are offering a reward up to $45,000 for information that leads to an arrest of the suspect.
(Learn More. From 1998 through 2006, investigators say a man attacked a number of housekeepers in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Courtesy of WUSA9 and YouTube. Posted on Jun 19, 2018)
The attacks followed a similar pattern: As housekeepers were cleaning hotel rooms, a man would enter the rooms by stealth, close the door, and violently assault—and in many cases, rape—them.
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.
There are up to nine known victims of the same assailant, and six of the attacks have been linked by one man’s DNA.
“The suspect is someone who knows the routine in hotels and is familiar with how they operate,” said Special Agent Erin Sheridan of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
“The attacks often occurred during the day, when there were not many guests and the cleaning staff were going in and out of the rooms.”
Sheridan, who is assisting local police departments in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia in investigating these cases, added, “Hotels are transient places, with people coming and going.”
“If he looked like an employee or a guest, he could have easily blended in.”
An additional challenge for investigators at the time was that hotel security cameras were not as advanced and prevalent as they are now, so investigators do not have a reliable image of the suspected attacker in the hotels’ lobbies, hallways, or stairwells, Sheridan said.
(Learn More. The FBI says it has definitively linked six rapes to a single assailant using DNA matches. Investigators say the man attacks happened between 1998 and 2006, the majority of them in hotels. Courtesy of the Associated Press and YouTube. Posted on Jun 19, 2018.)
Although this investigation is being handled at the local level, the FBI is providing support to local police departments as needed, such as creating a behavioral analysis profile of the subject.
In addition to publicly identifying the suspect’s DNA, the Montgomery County Police Department partnered with a private laboratory to create a composite sketch of the suspect, both at the time and age-progressed to today, based on his DNA information.
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,” explained Thomas Manger, Chief of the Montgomery County Police Department.
“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.”
(Law enforcement now has a new DNA tool that helps nab suspects and close cases. The service, developed by Parabon NanoLabs of Reston, Virginia, is called the Parabon® Snapshot™ DNA Phenotyping Service (Snapshot). It predicts the physical appearance of individuals from the smallest of DNA evidence samples, creating a composite image or “snapshot” of any DNA source. Courtesy of Parabon and YouTube. Posted on Oct 12, 2016.)
“In many cases like this where you have a serial criminal, police departments band together, along with the FBI, to put all of our resources and information together to work the case,” continued Special Agent Sheridan.
The FBI and local law enforcement are asking for the public’s help to solve this cold case.
There are currently no active leads, and investigators are relying on the public’s attention—or a DNA match—to help identify a suspect.
Although the attacker is not known to law enforcement, the indictment of the DNA profile means that he can be prosecuted in the future if he is found, even though the statute of limitations for rape is 15 years in 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.
“We’re asking the public’s help to solve these horrific crimes. Although this is a cold case from years ago, the FBI and local law enforcement never give up,” Sheridan said.
“We still want to get justice for these victims.”
“We’re asking the public’s help to look at the photos, look at the details, and if you have anything that jogs your memory, please let us know.”
Sheridan added that the public should not be afraid to come forward with information because if a person is not guilty, they can be cleared with DNA testing.
Anyone with information on these attacks should contact the Washington Metropolitan Police Department by calling (202) 727-9099 or sending a text message to MPD’s text tip line at 50411.
Tips may also be submitted online to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov.
All tips can remain anonymous.
“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,” added 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.”
(Learn More. Inside Edition tested out new crime-fighting technology which uses DNA obtained from a simple mouth swab to produce an actual image of her face. The sample was sent to Parabon NanoLabs, which has assisted police departments in 37 states to identify persons of interest in their investigations. Chief scientist Ellen Greytak says the new technology can reveal a suspect’s eye color, skin color, hair color, and even the shape of his or her face. Courtesy of Inside Edition and YouTube. Posted on Jun 1, 2018.)
“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,” said Daniel Murray, Arlington County Police Department Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations.
“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.”
Washington, D.C.-Area Hotel Rapist Incident Map
Note: Red pinpoints indicate incidents linked by DNA. Blue pinpoints indicate possibly related incidents (non-DNA linked).
Incident 1 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 1200 Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA
- August 22, 1998
- Shortly after noon, a 30-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Quality Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
Incident 2 (Linked by DNA)
- 4000 block of Penwood Street, Hyattsville, MD
- May 26, 2002
- Around 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 by the offender from the 3400 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE in Washington, D.C. His vehicle was described as a black, four-door car.
Incident 3 (Linked by DNA)
- 8727 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD
- December 1, 2002
- Around 2:30 p.m., a 31-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Hilton Hotel on Colesville Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. The offender brandished a red-handled box cutter, which was recovered at the scene.
Incident 4 (Linked by DNA)
- 999 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
- May 11, 2003
- At about 3:15 p.m., a 27-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Renaissance Hotel on 9th Street NW in Washington, D.C. The offender’s ring came off during the assault and was recovered at the scene.
Incident 5 (Linked by DNA)
- 1200 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
- May 23, 2003
- At around 10:30 a.m., a 68-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Jefferson Hotel on 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C.
Incident 6 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 1325 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
- May 28, 2003
- Around 10:30 a.m., a suspicious person was observed at a Hyatt Hotel on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia.
Incident 7 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 1533 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA
- May 28, 2003
- Around 10:45 a.m., a suspicious person was observed in the Marriott Courtyard Hotel on Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, 15 minutes after a suspicious sighting was reported at the nearby Hyatt Hotel.
Incident 8 (Linked by DNA)
- 2650 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA
- June 6, 2003
- At approximately 10:00 a.m., a 29-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Holiday Inn Hotel on Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Virginia.
Incident 9 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 6320 Golden Triangle Drive, Greenbelt, MD
- June 9, 2003
- At about 12:13 p.m., a suspicious person was seen at the Residence Inn in Greenbelt, Maryland. The suspect was questioned by an employee and exited the hotel 10 minutes later. This occurred 15 minutes prior to an attack at the nearby Marriott Courtyard.
Incident 10 (Linked by DNA)
- 6301 Golden Triangle Drive, Greenbelt, MD
- June 9, 2003
- At 12:28 p.m., a 22-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on Golden Triangle Drive in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Incident 11 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 805 Russell Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD
- June 13, 2003
- Around 11 a.m., a suspicious person was seen trying to open doors on various floors at the Marriott Hotel on Russell Avenue in Gaithersburg, Maryland; the individual then hastily fled in a black Nissan Sentra.
Incident 12 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 1100 Old Elkridge Landing Road, Linthicum Heights, MD
- June 13, 2003
- Around 12:10 p.m., two housekeepers reported that they saw a suspicious person (resembling the suspect portrayed in a warning flyer given to hotels) at the Sheraton Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel–BWI in Linthicum Heights, Maryland.
Incident 13 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 7411 New Hampshire Avenue, Takoma Park, MD
- February 13, 2005
- Around 11:30 a.m., a 34-year-old woman was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in a room at the Quality Inn Hotel on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Incident 14 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
- 5975 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA
- February 6, 2006
- At about 3:40 p.m., a 28-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in a room at the Red Roof Inn on Richmond Highway in Alexandria, Virginia.