A man has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman at knifepoint at a train station in Acton, Massachusetts, nearly 10 years ago after DNA profiling led investigators to him, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Christopher Aldrich, a 28-year-old from Lunenberg, appeared in Concord District Court Tuesday to face a charge of aggravated rape, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said. He was held without bail and is due back in court March 22.
Aldrich is suspected of approaching a woman, then 22 years old, with a knife at the South Acton train station after she finished making a call, then sexually assaulting her under threat, Ryan said. After the attack, he allegedly threw her phone away.
When the woman was finally able to find her cellphone and call 911, her attacker fled. A good DNA profile of the man was developed from the rape kit performed at the hospital, but the trail went cold.
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"Over the next eight-plus years, despite the fact that that profile was repeatedly submitted to databases, no match was made to the perpetrator," Ryan said.
Then, in 2021, Ryan's office partnered with a forensic lab company that can identify distant relatives through DNA, which led to Aldrich being developed as a person of interest. Last year, he crashed his car in Acton, which allowed police officers to collect his DNA — it came out to be a match with a vanishingly small likelihood of another person matching, according to Ryan.
After more police work, investigators obtained a warrant for Aldrich's ]arrest, Ryan said.
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It wasn't immediately clear if Aldrich had an attorney who could speak to his arrest.
Ryan said the case was a symbol of her office's commitment to continue investigating such cases: "although it may seem that time has passed and that it may seem that no one's looking or no one cares, that is not the case."
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