Capitol Hill

2 Capitol Hill Killings Linked Through DNA Evidence After Nearly 40 Years

Florence Eyssalenne and Greta Rainey were killed inside the same D.C. apartment building about 19 months apart

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Advancements in DNA technology have helped D.C. police link the cases of two women who were raped and killed decades ago inside a Capitol Hill apartment building.

Florence Eyssalenne was murdered 37 years ago at her apartment on 3rd Street SE. She had recently graduated from Harvard University.

“I could never bring myself to come back here again. There is just something about these stairs," Eyssalenne's brother, Bernard Eyssalenne, told News4.

Bernard Eyssalenne said the memories of getting the news of his sister's death are still vivid. He lived in Brooklyn, and to New York City police officers came to his door to tell him.

“And I’m still grateful I was the one who answered the door and not my mother because she would have collapsed," he said.

He didn't know it then, but it was the beginning of a decades-long odyssey of hopeful breaks that never came - until now.

“Never gave up. I've always stayed in touch with all the investigators," Bernard Eyssalenne said.

Through advancements in DNA technology, lab technicians were recently able to get a full DNA profile from the stem of a swab used in the 1985 rape kit taken at the time of Florence Eyssalenne's death. The kit, which was never before tested, was linked with the murder of Greta Rainey.

Rainey, 35, was found strangled and raped in an apartment in the same building and on the same floor as Eyssalenne.

D.C. police said the man who killed Florence Eyssalene and Rainey was likely very familiar with the building or the neighborhood.

“Essentially, the identity of this person is still unknown to us, however, we can say the individual is a male. We believe him to be of African American descent," Metropolitan Police Department Cpt. Kevin Kentish said.

Police have ruled out at least one suspect using the DNA, and are working to identify more possible suspects.

“Everything is on the table. Right now, detectives still doing the legwork, hoping to get more leads. Hopefully, somebody calls in and gives us a lead that we can examine, but we're also going the route of the genealogy route and that may take a little longer so we don’t want to put all our eggs in that one basket," Kentish said.

Bernard Eyssalene, who has always been a champion for his sister, says he has some hope there could be justice for her after all.

“It’s like a hole that never gets filled. You move on in life because you have to, but that hole is always there and I wouldn’t want anybody to go through that," he said.

There is a $50,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in the two cases. Police are asking anyone who has any information to call 202-727-9099.

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