Police remind public about park rapist


An un­known man linked by DNA evid­ence to three rapes and a murder in city parks re­mains at large al­most five years after his last known at­tack in the North­east.

Phil­adelphia po­lice hope that they’ll identi­fy and cap­ture the killer this year be­fore he vic­tim­izes an­oth­er wo­man.

Mem­bers of the spe­cial vic­tims unit dis­trib­uted wanted fli­ers along Kelly Drive and Mar­tin Luth­er King Jr. Drive in Fair­mount Park on Sat­urday to re-pub­li­cize the case in ad­vance of peak sea­son for park use. The leaf­lets fea­ture a com­pos­ite sketch of the man sus­pec­ted in the Ju­ly 17, 2003, rape and murder of 30-year-old med­ic­al stu­dent and Army re­serv­ist Re­becca Park.

Park had been jog­ging. Her mostly nude body was found in a wooded area near the 3500 block of Con­sho­hock­en Ave. She had been raped, beaten and strangled.

DNA evid­ence shows that the same man com­mit­ted two oth­er rapes in 2003 in Fair­mount Park, one near Kelly Drive and Foun­tain Green Road and the oth­er near Mar­tin Luth­er King Jr. Drive and Falls Bridge. Both cases in­volved fe­male jog­gers. In the lat­ter case, the rap­ist stabbed the vic­tim sev­er­al times with a knife, but she fought him off un­til he fled.

The rap­ist re­sur­faced four years later when, on Aug. 11, 2007, he tar­geted an­oth­er wo­man in Pennypack Park near Frank­ford and Solly av­en­ues. He dragged her from a walk­ing path in­to the woods and raped her be­fore flee­ing deep­er in­to the park.

He was de­scribed as His­pan­ic, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a me­di­um or mus­cu­lar build, black hair, a thin mous­tache, a thin beard and busy eye­brows. He speaks with a Latino ac­cent, po­lice said. In two cases, he wore an ear­ring in his left ear and fled rid­ing a 10-speed bi­cycle painted metal­lic purple.

Dur­ing the 2007 at­tack, he wore a light blue sleeve­less mesh bas­ket­ball jer­sey and match­ing bas­ket­ball shorts, both with white edging. He also wore a gold chain with cru­ci­fix pendant. The vic­tim said he had scars or marks on his up­per left torso and arm.

Park users should look out for any­one fit­ting this de­scrip­tion and should be cau­tious about us­ing the park alone. Call the spe­cial vic­tims unit at 215-685-3263 to re­port in­form­a­tion about the cases. ••


You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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