The Athens Police Department has released a DNA-based composite portrait of a man suspected of three sexual assaults in uptown Athens between 2006 and 2015.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle and lead investigator Lt. Jeff McCall said they are “very confident” in the accuracy of what’s called a phenotype composite, which was contracted to a company called Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia.
DNA evidence from a sexual assault that occurred on Dec. 12, 2015 in uptown Athens matches the DNA evidence from the suspect in cases from both a rape case in June 2006 and an attempted sexual assault in June 2015.
The assaults all occurred under similar circumstances, police have said, when the female victims, all college-aged, walked home alone from the uptown area early in the morning.
Police believe the suspect to be a white male in his late-20s to early-30s, Pyle said. His height is 5’8” to 5’10”, and he weighs approximately 160 pounds, according to news releases.
The DNA from the cases was sent to Parabon NanoLabs to develop a phenotype composite of the suspect. The resulting snapshot prediction results were used to develop a composite portrait of the suspect as well as to determine physical features such as skin color, eye color, hair color, freckles and ancestry.
The results of the phenotype show the suspect in this case to be 96.51 percent likely to be of northern European ancestry, 79 percent likely to have fair or very fair skin color, 76.3 percent likely to have green or hazel eyes, 91.1 percent likely to have reddish brown or blond hair, and 50 percent likely to have few or some freckles.
“We believe we have a very accurate composite phenotype,” Pyle said, encouraging people to visit www.parabon-nanolabs.com/snapshot to see how accurate the company has been in developing these portraits in the past.
Pyle said that this is the first time the APD has used the DNA phenotype process to develop a portrait of a suspect. He said it came about as a result of a suggestion from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“It’s pretty astounding that 21st Century technology has led us to this type of composite,” Pyle said.
The phenotype has been shared with the victims in the case, Pyle said, though he declined to share their reactions to it. At this point, he said, no new victims have come forward.
Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said that City Council approved the expenditure of up to $8,500 from the APD’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund to contract for the phenotype, but according to Pyle the actual price tag came in around $3,000. Patterson said you can’t put a price tag on finding the perpetrator of these crimes.
Pyle said that leads had tapered off in the investigation, but when new information is released the department tends to receive a lot of information from the community, which they are hoping will be the case with the new phenotype portrait.
Asked what he would say to the suspect if he could, Pyle responded, “Turn yourself in.”
Patterson said he has instructed the Police Department to bring all resources to bear in apprehending the perpetrator of these assaults.
If you recognize this person or have information that can aid this investigation, please contact the APD at 740-592-3313.