Another Case Linked to Potomac River Rapist

Attacked women in the 1990s in Maryland and DC

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The man known as the Potomac River Rapist is now linked to a brutal rape that happened on MacArthur Boulevard in D.C. 16 years ago. News4's Darcy Spencer reports. (Published Thursday, Jun 14, 2012)

    Investigators have linked another sexual assault to the man who orchestrated a series of violent attacks on D.C.-area women in the 1990s.

    D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier -- as well as investigators from the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and Montgomery County Police -- were joined by John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" in announcing that DNA evidence linked a 1996 attack to the man called the Potomac River Rapist.

    A 58-year-old woman was sexually assaulted July 20, 1996, in the 4900 block of MacArthur Boulevard.

    Police believe the same man is also responsible for nine other sexual assaults between 1991 and 1998 in the Potomac Valley area of Maryland, culminating in the 1998 rape and murder of Christine Mirzayan, a 29-year-old intern attacked as she walked to her home on Canal Road in Georgetown.

    According to a December 2011 release from the FBI:

    Most of the assaults followed a similar pattern. "The rapist used a blitz attack, surprising his victims with force -- sometimes wielding a knife or screwdriver -- and throwing a blanket or towel over their heads," said Capt. David Gillespie of the Montgomery County Police Department. "He often stalked his targets, breaking into their homes and waiting, sometimes for hours, for them to come home."

    Eight of the 10 attacks -- including the newest case and the murder of Mirzayan -- have been linked by DNA.

    The previously known attacks occurred as follows:

    • May 6, 1991; Gaithersburg, Md.
    • Sept. 5, 1991; Germantown, Md.
    • Nov. 21, 1991; Bethesda, Md.
    • Dec. 11, 1991; North Potomac, Md.
    • Jan. 24, 1992; North Potomac, Md.
    • March 8, 1994; Rockville, Md.
    • Feb. 26, 1997; Rockville, Md.
    • Nov. 14, 1997; Silver Spring, Md.
    • Aug. 1, 1998; Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

    Mirzayan, 29, had been temporarily living on the Georgetown University campus. A witness saw a man trailing her on Canal Road. The next day, her body was found in a wooded area of Georgetown. Her purse was found months later in the Potomac River.

    Stay with NBCWashington.com and NBC4 for more information.