UPDATE 9/26: Clearfield police hold press conference after arrest
CLEARFIELD CITY (ABC4 News) – After multiple investigations that spanned more than 20 years, a man suspected of multiple “incomprehensible” and “brutal” attacks on women was arrested.
Mark Douglas Burns, 69, of Ogden, was arrested Wednesday on multiple charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.
The Clearfield Police Department investigated multiple rapes between 1994 and 2001. During the investigations, DNA and other evidence were collected.
In 2003, the Clearfield Police Department obtained a DNA warrant in regards to the sexual assaults that occurred in 2001 and 2003. At that time the rapes that occurred in 1994 and 1995 had not been connected to the 2001 and 2003 cases. Sometime in 2010, due to advanced DNA technology, four other sexual assaults were linked to the 2001 and 2003 Clearfield cases when the DNA was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
COLD CASE INVESTIGATION BEGINS
In May of 215, several law enforcement agencies started a cold case investigation of the multiple sexual assaults that occurred in Clearfield City, Layton, Ogden, Laramie, Wyo., and Rock Springs, Wyo. between 1991 and 2001. Eventually, due to advanced technology and continued diligence, additional cases in Clearfield and Riverdale were linked.
Investigators said all the attacks were carried out using similar methods. Police said the suspect used sliding glass doors, a gun or a knife, and preyed upon women living in apartment communities. The victims were often bound and repeatedly assaulted over an extended period of time, police said.
Detectives eventually enlisted the help of genetic genealogist, Dr. Barbar Rae-Venter, who was able to study the previously collected DNA and discover a potential familial DNA relationship.
Recently, Clearfield detectives identified and interviewed a person who “shared common DNA characteristics” with the suspect. This eventually led them to Burns as a possible suspect.
Investigators said Burns’ DNA was tested and the results conclude that he is responsible for the nine attacks they had been investigating.
POSSIBLY MORE VICTIMS
Investigators believe there are more victims in Clearfield, surrounding communities and possibly other states. Because of the “brutal” nature of the crimes, “detectives do not believe Mr. Burns suddenly stopped committing such heinous crimes since 2001.”
Police say Burns worked as a long haul truck driver and traveled to the multiple Western United States. Clearfield police encourage victims who have been assaulted by an unknown attacker with similar circumstances to come forward and contact their local police.
In Utah, Burns faces eight counts of aggravated sexual assault, six counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated robbery. Authorities in Wyoming are expected to file criminal charges related to the offenses that occurred there.
“We are mindful of the victims and families and extend our sincere appreciation for their continued faith and support throughout the investigations. We hope that they can now find some form of closure to the horrific attacks and abuse that occurred so many years ago,” said Clearfield Police Department in a statement.
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