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DNA trail leads authorities to alleged North Dallas Rapist

Over the last decade DNA advances have not only proven the innocence of convicted inmates, but also the guilt of those who previously remained free. Now, after an investigation of more than 20 years, Texas police believe they may have the "North Dallas Rapist." The accused was allegedly involved in a string of sexual assaults on young girls and female teenagers during the 1980s and 1990s that went unsolved until recently.

Investigators found a DNA match with a man who was convicted for sexual abuse in another case.

A 43-year-old man was convicted of aggravated sexual assault by a jury in North Texas. The alleged incident took place 23 years ago, when a 7-year-old girl was attacked. The child, now a 30-year-old woman, tearfully described the 1989 assault.

Police initially convicted a different man of the sex crime. The man, who is deaf, said authorities forced him to confess to the assault during a 19-hour interrogation. The man was imprisoned for 20 years, until investigators realized evidence found outside the victim’s home did not match the inmate. He was freed in 2010.

The fingerprint match led police to a repeat sex offender, who was arrested and charged with the sex crime. Police say the defendant had been charged with the sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl during the same year the other girl was attacked.

The jury heard the story of the assault from the crime victim, now a 30-year-old woman. The attacker reportedly broke into the child’s home and took the young girl. The child was allowed to return home after the defendant attacked her.

Authorities are trying to connect the convicted man with several other cases of sexual assaults in North Dallas that took place in the 80s and 90s. So far, investigators have linked DNA evidence from two cases to the defendant, who would have been in his 20s at the time of the crimes.

Source: 5 NBCDFW.com, "Supposed North Dallas Rapist Sentenced to Life in Prison," Nomaan Merchant, Jan. 19, 2012

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