DNA Evidence Obtained in Gaithersburg Rape Investigation Used to Create Suspect Composite

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) continue to investigate the October 6 rape of an adult female that occurred at a bus stop in Gaithersburg. 

The investigation has determined that at approximately 5:30 a.m. on October 6, the victim was waiting for a bus at a bus stop located on Watkins Mill Road at Travis Lane when she was approached by the suspect.  The suspect, described as a black male in his twenties and wearing a dark-colored, checkered shirt or jacket, acknowledged the victim’s presence.  The suspect then grabbed the victim and pulled her toward a wooded area next to the bus stop.  The suspect then raped the victim and fled from the area.  The victim ran from the area and called police.

Detectives investigating this assault recently sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon), a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in DNA phenotyping: the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence.  Using DNA evidence obtained during this investigation, Parabon’s Shapshot DNA Phenotyping Service has produced a composite (referred to as a Snapshot composite) depicting how the suspect in this case may look.

Snapshot Suspect Composite

Detectives are urging anyone who may recognize this suspect to call the Special Victims Investigations Division at 240-773-5050. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to their line that leads to an arrest and/or indictment for this rape.

Information Regarding How the Suspect Composite Was Created by Parabon

Parabon’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service used the DNA evidence (body fluids) left by the suspect at the scene to produce trait predictions for the suspect.  Individual predictions were made for the subject’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape.  By combining these attributes of appearance, Shapshot composites were produced depicting what the suspect might look like at a certain age and with a certain body-mass index (BMI).  The default ages and default BMIs were used because age and BMI cannot be determined from DNA.

It is important to note that Snapshot composites are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA, and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance.  Environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and other non-environmental factors – e.g., facial hair, hairstyle, scars, etc. – cannot be predicted by DNA analysis and may cause further variation between the subject’s predicted and actual appearances.

RLG