DNA leads to Frenchman's arrest over serial rapes in 1990s

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PARIS (AP) — DNA traces helped police identify, arrest and jail a Frenchman suspected of 34 rapes or attempted rapes in a suburban Paris forest from 1995 to 2001.

Evry deputy prosecutor Bertrand Daillie told the Associated Press the suspect has been charged with "rapes, attempted rapes and sexual assaults" on 34 women aged from 27 to 72 year-old.

The 40-year-old man was arrested Monday at his home in Roubaix in northern France and he has been placed in custody pending further investigation.

During questioning the suspect said he didn't deny the facts but that he did not remember committing it, according to Daillie.

The analysis of his DNA following his arrest has matched with the DNA found on the 34 victims, Daillie said.

The deputy prosecutor said the man was identified through the same DNA found on rape victims and genetic material from one of the suspect's brothers listed in French criminal databases.

The suspect, who was born and raised in Paris' suburb of Corbeil-Essonnes, was married and a father. He was living in Roubaix.

The authorities didn't make his identity public.

The man was aged 20 to 26 when the attacks on the women occurred in the Senart Forest, south of Paris, near his then-home of Corbeil-Essonnes.

In many occasions, the attacker used to act the same way: driving his small motorcycle across the forest paths, targeting a woman who was alone and assaulting her, still wearing a helmet, according to some victims.

The arrest of the suspect revives hope of a conclusion to one of France's biggest unsolved criminal cases. For years, fear of a serial rapist haunted the suburban region of the Senart Forest, where women jogging or walking alone were repeatedly targeted.

Any trial would have little chance to take place before two years, according to Daillie. If convicted, the suspect would face up to 15 years in prison.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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