May 4, 2017 |
It was one of those ugly, unsolved crimes that seem to haunt many neighborhoods in New York City: In February 1993, a man with a knife abducted an 11-year-old girl in an apartment building hallway in the Hamilton Heights section of Manhattan, forced her to the roof and sexually assaulted her.
The girl was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where nurses gathered physical evidence from her body, but no one was ever arrested. The DNA of her attacker was not even tested until 2002, when the city undertook a project to clear a backlog of rape-evidence kits.
When the evidence was processed, investigators did not find a match in a database of genetic profiles kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 2003, as the statute of limitations was running out, Manhattan prosecutors obtained an indictment against a “John Doe” using the DNA profile of the unidentified man.
On Thursday, prosecutors from the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said they had finally identified the man with the knife who attacked the girl 24 years ago.