Serial Rape Investigation

The search for a serial rapist in Miami is going on, in part, in a lab right here in Tallahassee. DNA samples from men who resemble the rapist are being analyzed at FDLE headquarters, and not without plenty of controversy.

Forensic technologist Theresa Hoskins is analyzing DNA samples for FDLE. Some of the samples she's run are from men in Miami whose DNA is being screened in hopes of finding a serial rapist.

Police are trying to catch a Hispanic man in his 30's or 40's who has raped seven women in southwest Miami. The youngest is 11, the oldest, 79.

The controversy? Police are asking men who resemble composite sketches to volunteer their DNA and sign a release which allows it to be entered in the state database.

"Each DNA sample arrives in Tallahassee on a swab like this; it's enclosed in a kit which has a consent form right on the back which says the sample can be used for evaluation in this crime and others."

The ACLU wonders how voluntary the DNA samples really are, and it objects to having the DNA of innocent people in a database full of convicted rapists and murderers.

"It's our position that if someone gives a voluntary sample and is in no way implicated in this crime, that once this investigation is over, it should be destroyed," says Larry Spalding.

FDLE has run more than 100 of these so-called voluntary samples so far. It stands by its consent form, and it expects more DNA samples to arrive as the hunt for Miami's serial
rapist continues.


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