, 2022-11-17 02:00:00,
DNA evidence left behind 35 years ago and the use of forensic genealogy has led to the arrest of an Indiana man on charges that he sexually assaulted two Rhode Island girls in 1987, authorities announced Wednesday.
Frank Thies, 66, of Terre Haute, Indiana, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Rhode Island on charges of sexual assault and molestation, according to the Rhode Island State Police.
The victims, aged 11 and 13, were sexually assaulted in April 1987 after their attacker forced them into the woods in rural Rhode Island, police said. One of the girls lived nearby in Exeter. Police recovered physical evidence that they believed came from the perpetrator, but could not make an identification.
The case was reopened in 2005 following advancements in genetic forensics, but still no match was found.
In 2019, detectives with the state’s Special Victims Unit worked with the Rhode Island Department of Health to reexamine the genetic evidence once again. They turned to genetic profiling, which involves searching DNA databases to find familial matches to the DNA of a suspect. From there, they determined the suspect was likely one of three brothers from western New York who had served in the military.
Investigators then teamed up…
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