From 1998 to 2006, a man attacked and raped women in the Washington, D.C. area, often threatening them with weapons. Although the attacker has not yet been found, the rapist’s DNA profile has been indicted by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., thanks to DNA scientific advances since the crimes occurred. This is the first time a John Doe DNA profile has been indicted in Washington, D.C.
Local police departments and the FBI are offering a reward up to $45,000 for information that leads to an arrest of the suspect.
The attacks followed a similar pattern: As housekeepers were cleaning hotel rooms, a man would enter the rooms, close the door, and violently assault—and in many cases, rape—them. There are up to nine known victims of the same assailant, and six of the attacks have been linked by one man’s DNA.
“The suspect is someone who knows the routine in hotels and is familiar with how they operate,” said Special Agent Erin Sheridan of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “The attacks often occurred during the day, when there were not many guests and the cleaning staff were going in and out of the rooms.”
Sheridan, who is assisting local police departments in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia in investigating these cases, added, “Hotels are transient places, with people coming and going. If he looked like an employee or a guest, he could have easily blended in.”
An additional challenge for investigators at the time was that hotel security cameras were not as advanced and prevalent as they are now, so investigators do not have a reliable image of the suspected attacker in the hotels’ lobbies, hallways, or stairwells, Sheridan said.
Although this investigation is being handled at the local level, the FBI is providing support to local police departments as needed, such as creating a behavioral analysis profile of the subject.
In addition to publicly identifying the suspect’s DNA, the Montgomery County Police Department partnered with a private laboratory to create a composite sketch of the suspect, both at the time and age-progressed to today, based on his DNA information.
“In many cases like this where you have a serial criminal, police departments band together, along with the FBI, to put all of our resources and information together to work the case,” Sheridan said.
The FBI and local law enforcement are asking for the public’s help to solve this cold case. There are currently no active leads, and investigators are relying on the public’s attention—or a DNA match—to help identify a suspect. Although the attacker is not known to law enforcement, the indictment of the DNA profile means that he can be prosecuted in the future if he is found, even though the statute of limitations for rape is 15 years in Washington, D.C.
“We’re asking the public’s help to solve these horrific crimes. Although this is a cold case from years ago, the FBI and local law enforcement never give up. We still want to get justice for these victims,” Sheridan said. “We’re asking the public’s help to look at the photos, look at the details, and if you have anything that jogs your memory, please let us know.”
Sheridan added that the public should not be afraid to come forward with information because if a person is not guilty, they can be cleared with DNA testing.
Anyone with information on these attacks should contact the Washington Metropolitan Police Department by calling (202) 727-9099 or sending a text message to MPD’s text tip line at 50411. Tips may also be submitted online to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov. All tips can remain anonymous.
“Although this is a cold case from years ago, the FBI and local law enforcement never give up. We still want to get justice for these victims.”
Erin Sheridan, special agent, FBI Washington Field Office
This ring was left behind by the suspect following a May 11, 2003 sexual assault. Investigators believe the ring is unique and could be a family heirloom. Select to view larger/download.
This hat belonging to the D.C.-Area Hotel Rapist was recovered following a December 1, 2002 sexual assault. Select to view larger/download.
Between 1998 and 2006, a serial rapist attacked at least six women in the Washington, D.C., area. Six of these attacks were forensically linked by DNA to the same offender, and the offender used similar methods in all the attacks. In five of the six cases linked by DNA, the offender entered high-rise hotels during the day and violently raped housekeepers in rooms they were cleaning. An additional attack occurred in 2002 in the offender’s vehicle. The suspect’s identity is not yet known.
A reward of up to $45,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this cold case. Law enforcement agencies are asking anyone with information to contact Washington Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099 or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or https://tips.fbi.gov. Additionally, anonymous tips can be submitted to the MPD’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.
Note: Red pinpoints indicate incidents linked by DNA. Blue pinpoints indicate possibly related incidents (non-DNA linked). Select pinpoints to view incident details, or view list below map.
Incident 1 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
1200 Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA
August 22, 1998
Shortly after noon, a 30-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Quality Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.
Incident 2 (Linked by DNA)
4000 block of Penwood Street, Hyattsville, MD
May 26, 2002
Around 6:50 a.m., an 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in the offender’s vehicle on the 4000 block of Penwood Street in Hyattsville, Maryland, after having been picked up by the offender from the 3400 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE in Washington, D.C. His vehicle was described as a black, four-door car.
Incident 3 (Linked by DNA)
8727 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD
December 1, 2002
Around 2:30 p.m., a 31-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Hilton Hotel on Colesville Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. The offender brandished a red-handled box cutter, which was recovered at the scene.
Incident 4 (Linked by DNA)
999 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
May 11, 2003
At about 3:15 p.m., a 27-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Renaissance Hotel on 9th Street NW in Washington, D.C. The offender’s ring came off during the assault and was recovered at the scene.
Incident 5 (Linked by DNA)
1200 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
May 23, 2003
At around 10:30 a.m., a 68-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Jefferson Hotel on 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C.
Incident 6 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
1325 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
May 28, 2003
Around 10:30 a.m., a suspicious person was observed at a Hyatt Hotel on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia.
Incident 7 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
1533 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA
May 28, 2003
Around 10:45 a.m., a suspicious person was observed in the Marriott Courtyard Hotel on Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, 15 minutes after a suspicious sighting was reported at the nearby Hyatt Hotel.
Incident 8 (Linked by DNA)
2650 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA
June 6, 2003
At approximately 10:00 a.m., a 29-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Holiday Inn Hotel on Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Virginia.
Incident 9 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
6320 Golden Triangle Drive, Greenbelt, MD
June 9, 2003
At about 12:13 p.m., a suspicious person was seen at the Residence Inn in Greenbelt, Maryland. The suspect was questioned by an employee and exited the hotel 10 minutes later. This occurred 15 minutes prior to an attack at the nearby Marriott Courtyard.
Incident 10 (Linked by DNA)
6301 Golden Triangle Drive, Greenbelt, MD
June 9, 2003
At 12:28 p.m., a 22-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted in a room at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on Golden Triangle Drive in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Incident 11 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
805 Russell Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD
June 13, 2003
Around 11 a.m., a suspicious person was seen trying to open doors on various floors at the Marriott Hotel on Russell Avenue in Gaithersburg, Maryland; the individual then hastily fled in a black Nissan Sentra.
Incident 12 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
1100 Old Elkridge Landing Road, Linthicum Heights, MD
June 13, 2003
Around 12:10 p.m., two housekeepers reported that they saw a suspicious person (resembling the suspect portrayed in a warning flyer given to hotels) at the Sheraton Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel–BWI in Linthicum Heights, Maryland.
Incident 13 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
7411 New Hampshire Avenue, Takoma Park, MD
February 13, 2005
Around 11:30 a.m., a 34-year-old woman was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in a room at the Quality Inn Hotel on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Incident 14 (Possibly Related/Non-DNA Linked)
5975 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA
February 6, 2006
At about 3:40 p.m., a 28-year-old housekeeper was sexually assaulted at knifepoint in a room at the Red Roof Inn on Richmond Highway in Alexandria, Virginia.