DNA Sample Generates New Leads in 1987 Loudoun Assault Case

Cold Case Unit detectives with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office have tapped new DNA technology to help solve a nearly 30-year-old child sexual assault case.

Parabon NanoLabs, a Reston-based DNA technology company, developed a phenotyping service, called Snapshot, that can predict the physical appearance and ancestry of a suspect from DNA evidence. In this case, the company produced composite images of the suspect using gene trait predictions.

2550The investigation stems from the abduction and sexual assault of a 9-year-old Sterling girl on June 26, 1987. Around 4 a.m., deputies were called to a home in the 200 Block of E. Poplar Road where the victim reported that a man broke into her residence, abducted her and sexually assaulted her. The victim described the suspect as a white male, with a thin build, 6-feet, 3-inches tall, with brown hair and a mustache.

Using evidence collected at that time, the Snapshot technology combined attributes including ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling and face shape, to create two composite sketches, one showing what the suspect may have looked like at 25-years of age and at age 50. The composites are described as scientific approximations of appearance that are unlikely to be exact matches for the suspect’s appearance.

Anyone with any information about the case is asked to contact Det. Dave Canham at 703-777-0475. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Loudoun Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919. Callers who provide information to Crime Solvers that leads to an arrest and indictment could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

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