A bad branch in the family tree — DNA does in 1990s rapist

A bad branch in the family tree — DNA does in 1990s rapist
Photo: Kevin Konther

DNA-matching technology and a family tree have enabled the arrest of an Inland Empire, California, man suspected of committing multiple Orange County rapes in the 1990s.

Renewed investigations into the cases throughout the years had led to dead ends until late in 2018, when the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI’s Evidence Response Team joined to take DNA research a step further.

Officials from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrested Kevin Konther, aged 53, on January 10, 2019, at his home in Highland on charges of two counts of felony rape, oral copulation with a person under 14, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, and aggravated sexual assault.

Ultimately, the identification of this assaulter of a 9-year-old girl and a 31-year-old woman was possible thanks to DNA samples and so-called reverse genealogy techniques similar to those employed in identifying earlier in 2018 the Golden State Killer, the OCSD said in a January 11, 2019, statement.

The collaboration starting in August 2018 between the OCSD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigative genealogy team opened a new path : A DNA-facilitated genealogy on consumer ancestry-tracing sites led to a pair of identical twin brothers.

As identical twins share identical DNA, investigators from the Sheriff’s Department arrested both brothers based on probable cause on January 10, 2019, pending clarification as to who committed the rapes more than 23 years prior.

Police, upon obtaining further details on the two brothers, determined that Kevin Konther was the suspect in both rapes. His identical twin was, meanwhile, being kept in custody due to the nature of the case.

The rape of the 9-year-old girl occurred in Lake Forest on the evening of October 21, 1995, when a man snatched her as she was walking down the street. He raped her in a wooded area of Serrano Creek Park.

Upon being released, the girl ran home to alert her parent, who then reported the sexual assault to the Sheriff’s Department. The female child victim provided enough details to police for them to sketch the subject.

The rape of the 31-year-old adult female victim took place in Mission Viejo, California, on the morning of June 2, 1998, as she was jogging on a trail. Grabbing her from behind, the rapist pulled her into the bushes, raped her and then released her. A passerby from whom the victim sought help called the OCSD.

The two victims herein had reported the attacks at the time of occurrence, which allowed both for DNA evidence to be collected in their sexual assault exams, and for investigators to immediately start searching out a perpetrator.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators in partnership with the Orange County Crime Lab soon found that DNA from the 1998 and the 1995 rape matched.

However, all leads arising during investigations had ultimately run cold, despite ongoing research, until now.

Finally arrested, Kevin Konther was booked on $1 million bail in the Orange County Jail, with an initial court appearance set for January 14, 2019.

 

 

A bad branch in the family tree — DNA does in 1990s rapist was last modified: January 22nd, 2019 by admin
Categories: Orange
Tags: rape

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