Police: DNA used to make sketches of possible suspect in rape, murder cases from nearly 30 years ago

- Montgomery County police said they have used DNA evidence recovered from separate crime scenes of a rape and murder that each happened decades ago to construct composite sketches of a possible suspect.

The string of brutal attacks took place in the Rockville area beginning with the assault and rape of a 52-year-old woman on June 25, 1989. Police said the victim was approached from behind and sexually assaulted as she was walking on Lewis Avenue in Rockville. Investigators recovered the suspect's DNA from this case.

Police connected that attack with the rape and murder of 42-year-old Le Bich-Thuy in 1994. She was found strangled to death outside of her home on Martha Terrace on Oct. 3, 1994. Investigators found she was last known to be alive several days earlier leaving the Twinbrook Metro station on Sept. 28.

A couple who lived in the area back then recalled the feeling of neighborhood when the crimes happened.

“I was terrified,” said Peggy Bur. “My children were young. I had a 10-year-old and 5-year-old."

“Everybody was quite upset about it,” said Tony Bur. “Especially the fact that there was no suspect.”

After using DNA evidence recovered at both of these unsolved crimes, a DNA analysis determined that the same suspect committed both crimes, police said.

Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in predicting physical appearance from unidentified DNA evidence, was used to construct two composite sketches of what the possible suspect may have looked like when the crimes were committed and what he may look like as he aged.

The first sketch shows the possible suspect at 25 years of age. A second composite sketch shows the same person at 45 years old.

“I’m happy to hear that because it was frustrating that there was never any resolution," said Peggy. "Even though I didn’t know the woman, I still identified with her. She was not that different from me in age and she deserved some kind of justice which never came.”

Police believe the suspect is also connected to an attempted rape of a 25-year-old woman on Sept. 19, 1994. Police said the suspect, armed with a knife, approached the victim from behind on Twinbrook Parkway and dragged her to the side of her home where he attempted to sexually assault her. However, she was able to resist and get away from the suspect before contacting police about the incident.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect or anyone who believes he/she may have details that might advance this investigation is urged to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect. Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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