Toronto

DNA evidence links man to multiple sexual assaults in Toronto, Collingwood: police

Two police forces have teamed up to investigate three alleged sexual assaults that have now been linked by DNA evidence.

Toronto police believe the suspect is becoming increasingly violent

Police have released two composite images of the suspect. (Toronto Police Service)

Two police forces have teamed up to investigate three alleged sexual assaults that have now been linked by DNA evidence.

Toronto police say the violent incidents allegedly took place in the city and in Collingwood, Ont., between 2015 and 2019.

"I believe he's escalating in violence," said Supt. Pauline Gray of the alleged attacker.

In the most recent case on July 15, police say a man posing as a ride-hailing driver drove a woman to a Toronto parking lot and sexually assaulted her while making death threats.

In 2017, police allege the same man dragged a teenage girl into a car in Collingwood and sexually assaulted her.

And they say in 2015 he allegedly sexually assault a woman after pulling her into a laneway in Toronto.

"We are also concerned that given the span of time between these three incidents, that there are other sexual assaults that have gone unreported," Gray added.

In all three cases, Gray said police were able to recover DNA samples that connected the alleged attacks

Toronto police say they've joined forces with the Ontario Provincial Police to investigate the three cases.

'Somebody knows him'

Police believe the suspect suffered an eye injury during the most recent assault, Gray said. Investigators are also asking medical offices or pharmacies to report if they've treated a man for a similar injury.

She said victims also consistently described the suspect as a man between 25 and 35 with a small build. Gray said police also believe the man has access to a high-end, four-door vehicle in black, silver or grey.

"Somebody knows him, whether it be a mother, a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, has seen this injury and I know it's sticking in their brain," Gray said.

Provincial police Det. Sgt. Shawn Glassford, part of the joint team probing the cases, said the alleged attacks are troubling for investigators and the public.

"It's very frustrating," he said. "We want to get this person off the streets."

Gray urged anyone with information about the man, particularly with knowledge of his recent suspected eye injury, to come forward. She also encouraged any potential victims to report what happened.

With files from The Canadian Press