Windsor police made a shocking arrest in a 25-year-old sex assault case and are now looking for possible connections to similar violent attacks from around the same time.
A 54-year-old man, formerly of Windsor, was arrested by the RCMP in British Columbia last week after forensic specialists linked his DNA to a sexual assault dating back more than two decades.
The man is charged with several offences, including sexual assault with a weapon, break and enter and unlawful confinement in connection to an incident in the 1700 block of Marentette Avenue in the summer of 1990.
"We're now looking at additional cases back in 1990 to see if there are any links to those," said Sgt. Matt D'Asti of Windsor police. "We know when we talk about sexual assault investigations there is always that real potential that there could be additional victims in our community."
That particular summer was a time of great worry in Windsor because of a series of attacks on women in the east end of the city. Someone had raped five women in separate incidents by breaking into their homes.
Each time, the man cut phone lines to the homes, according to news reports.
Police issued stern reminders to the residents during several public meetings to keep their doors and windows locked at all times.
DNA cracks case
Forensic evidence was collected at the time of the Marentette assault, but no leads came from its analysis. That changed in July last year when Windsor police's major crime detectives and forensic identification officers reviewed the case.
They sent additional pieces of evidence collected from the scene and had it tested using much more sophisticated forensic technology. By January, the Centre of Forensic Sciences contacted Windsor Police to indicate that DNA collected from the evidence matched with that of a man in the national offender databank.
A nation-wide warrant was issued for his arrest and he was later picked up without incident by the RCMP in Burnaby. Windsor detectives then travelled to Burnaby and escorted the man back to Windsor.
Police say they're prepared to work with other victims who may come forward now that the arrest has been made.
"We want you to come forward, as difficult as that may be," D'Asti said. "We'll make every available effort on our end to ensure these victims are taken care of, if there are additional victims."
Anyone with information is urged to contact Windsor Police at 519-255-6700 ext. 4830 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS).