Fairfax County Police

DNA connects man to series of Fairfax County sex assaults dating to 1998

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Investigators arrested a suspect more than two decades after a series of sexual assaults, Fairfax County police said, and they want to know if there are more victims.

Detectives identified 58-year-old Edward Pottmyer thanks to advances in DNA technology, police said. They charged him in three sexual assaults — the first taking place in the late 1990s.

“Mr. Pottmyer is a monster,” Fairfax County police Maj. Daniel Spital said. “He terrorized the community.”

Spital, who is the commander of the department’s Violent Crimes Division, said investigators have had the DNA evidence for decades but weren’t able to identify Pottmyer until last year with the help of a private company.

“Often times people will use 23andMe and some of the other companies where they’re looking for family members and they’re looking to compare familial DNA, so these companies are able to obtain DNA samples,” Spital said.

The first attack happened Sept. 9, 1998, on a trail near Monument Drive and Fairfax County Parkway. The victim said she was jogging when a man approached her, implying he had a knife and assaulted her before running away.

On Aug. 3, 2000, on Parkside Drive in Fairfax, a 66-year-old woman told police she woke up to a man assaulting her and fought him off. He escaped through a second-story window.

Then in December 2004, detectives went to Whitewater Drive in Burke where a victim said she was in her basement when she noticed a man exposing himself through the window. He ran away, but investigators say he left a critical clue — DNA evidence was found in each of these cases.

“These are frustrating cases for any detective that’s working them,” Spital said.

“You have evidence left behind, but just, you can’t put those pieces together and find out who the suspect is,” he said. 

Investigators don’t think Pottmyer is responsible for other sexual assaults in Fairfax County, but they are working with other agencies to see if he’s connected to other cases elsewhere.

“We just want our victims to know that we always believe and we will never stop trying to find the offenders,” Spital said.

Detectives want to talk to anyone who may have had contact with Pottmyer or information about these cases.

Pottmyer is being held without bond on charges of forcible sodomy and abduction with intent to defile.

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