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FBI: Good tips but no suspects in D.C.-area rapes

Thursday - 2/9/2012, 1:32pm  ET

By ERIC TUCKER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - More than a month after launching a publicity campaign aimed at catching a man suspected in a spate of sexual assaults and a slaying, the FBI says authorities have received multiple good leads and tips but have not identified any suspects yet.

Investigators have met with some men, and a handful _ fewer than 10 _ have voluntarily submitted DNA samples, said Lindsay Godwin, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office. She said that analysis is ongoing.

"We're continuing to get very strong tips and good phone calls _ and that's all law enforcement, not just FBI," she said.

Local and federal authorities announced at the end of December a publicity blitz, including a website and digital billboards up and down the East Coast, to solicit tips about a man believed to be connected to nine attacks on women between 1991 and 1998. The campaign is similar to ones that helped lead to the arrests last year of Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger and Aaron Thomas, a man suspected in rapes along the East Coast.

Seven of the attacks have been linked through DNA. Authorities believe all nine are connected based on similarities in the methods and victims.

Most of the attacks were rapes in Montgomery County, though the final attack was the Aug. 1, 1998 killing of a young scientist who was returning to her home in Georgetown. Authorities have dubbed the man the "Potomac River Rapist" because of the geographic area of the attacks.

A website devoted to the case includes a sketch of a potential suspect and received about 15,000 hits within the first month.

Godwin said authorities receive additional tips each time "America's Most Wanted" airs an episode on the investigation. She said authorities have also re-run the billboards in multiple states because of some of the responses received through the tip line.

"Anytime we receive DNA voluntarily, it helps us exonerate them and we are able to move on to another tip, another individual, somebody else that can help us," Godwin said.

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Online: http://1.usa.gov/zwD1J6

Eric Tucker can be reached at http://twitter.com/etuckerAP


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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