DNA links three alleged sexual assaults involving children, police in Waterloo, Ont., say

DNA links three alleged sexual assaults involving children, police in Waterloo, Ont., say
DNA evidence has linked the alleged sexual assaults of three young girls to the same suspect, police in Waterloo, Ont., said Wednesday as they called for the public’s help in identifying a man they say has been targeting children.

Forensic evidence gathered after a 4-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted in a Kitchener, Ont., apartment building this month suggests the same suspect is responsible for two other incidents in the region that followed a remarkably similar pattern, police said.

“We can look at these three incidents and remark that they all occurred within apartments, within neighbourhoods where people were active, they were playing, they were living, and that’s of grave concern,” said Insp. Mark Crowell.

“We believe that someone out there knows the person responsible for these sexual assaults.”

The most recent incident involved a young girl who was playing in the apartment’s common area on a Saturday evening when a man approached her and sexually assaulted her in a stairwell, Crowell alleged.

The oldest incident linked to the suspect took place in October 2013, Crowell said, when a girl who was also 4 years old at the time was playing hide-and-seek with a group of kids outside an apartment building in Waterloo, Ont.

“As the four-year-old girl went inside for a drink of water, she was grabbed by an unknown male and sexually assaulted,” Crowell said, noting that the incident also happened in a stairwell.

In the third case, a 6-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted in October 2017 on the landing between the second and third floors of a Kitchener apartment building after she had been playing outside with a friend.

“It’s a very bold and brazen offence against these children to commit sexual assault in amongst neighbourhoods, communities, families,” Crowell said.

Crowell said the Waterloo Regional Police Service is working with officers from the provincial police’s behavioural sciences unit, as well as the province’s serial predator crime investigations co-ordinator.

“We understand parents are concerned and as are we, and that’s why we’re putting in every resource that we can,” he said, adding that officers are also encouraging parents to be extra vigilant while supervising their kids outside.

Police believe there could be other alleged victims, Crowell said, and they’re asking anyone with any information to come forward.

He said police are currently considering all possibilities including that the suspect lived in the buildings where the alleged incidents occurred, came from elsewhere in the community or lived in another region altogether.

“In an investigation of this magnitude, we’re leaving no stone unturned,” he said, noting that police have released a composite image of what the man may look like to help jog people’s memories.

He added, however, that the years-long time frame adds a wrinkle to the investigation.

“We’re concerned that over the seven-year period, things have changed. People have moved,” he said. “We’re casting a wide net.”
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