November 23, 2014

DNA database helps identify sexual assault suspect

Anthony Vaughn

Anthony Vaughn

Update:  Anthony Vaughn on Monday was ordered to be held without bond pending further investigation.

The Omaha Police Dept. has identified and arrested a suspect involved in a series of sexual assaults dating back to 1999. The majority of the assaults happened in the mid-town area and detectives linked several incidents involving a suspect entering a home at vulnerable times and have knowledge of individuals being at home.

Police say during five of these incidents the suspect sexually assaulted the female resident. The Special Victims Unit collected DNA evidence from the victims. That evidence was tested by UNMC DNA lab and the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab. A DNA profile was obtained and confirmed the five sexual assaults were committed by the same attacker. At this point the DNA did not match any known offenders in the CODIS database (the FBI combined DNA index) matching the profile.

Over the course of the 10 year period Detectives continued to investigate the five sexual assaults and similar break-ins. On Wednesday, April 17, 2013 the Special Victims Unit received notification from the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab that the suspect DNA profile obtained during the investigations confirmed a match through CODIS. The profile was shown to be a match to Anthony Vaughn. Vaughn had been convicted for a felony burglary charge which required him to submit to a DNA sample under the Nebraska DNA Testing Act.

Investigators immediately acted upon the information and began to seek Vaughn out with the assistance of the Omaha Police Fugitive Task Force. Detectives began to connect with acquaintances of Vaughn and communicate with him through social media. This work lead investigators to the Norfolk, NE area where local citizen contacts and coordinated efforts with the Norfolk Police Department led to locating and apprehending Vaughn on Saturday, April 20, 2013.

Detectives are continuing to follow up on additional crimes that Vaughn may be suspected of.