A suspected serial rapist in New Mexico is behind bars after DNA allegedly linked him to a decades-old cold case sexual assault, authorities said.
Around 5 a.m. on July 27, 1997, a woman, identified only as “M.C.”, let her cat back into her Albuquerque home but left the door ajar. A short time later, a man entered the residence and raped her at knifepoint before making her shower and then fleeing with a briefcase, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The case went cold until investigators recently used forensic genealogy and family tree DNA and databases to identify and narrow down a list of possible suspects.
On November 15, detectives collected a fork that Edward Gilbert Duran had been using at an Albuquerque restaurant. The utensil was sent to a lab, where DNA collected from it was determined to be a match to genetic evidence recovered in 1997 from the rape kit.
On Dec. 21, Bernalillo County 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez announced authorities had arrested Duran for the nearly 25-year-old rape of M.C.
“By combining technology and smart investigating, my office was able to link Duran to this crime and bring him into the light,” Torrez said. “We hope that this victim and others feel a sense of security and closure by today’s arrest and our work to link Duran to his past crime.”
Duran faces charges of two counts of criminal sexual penetration and was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, there is no statute of limitations on first-degree felony charges in New Mexico.
Police believe Duran, who reportedly was convicted of criminal sexual penetration in 1979 and 1989, may be responsible for as many as seven other raped over a multi-year span in the 1990s.
“We’re just getting started, we haven’t forgotten you,” Torrez said of the victims of those unsolved crimes.