DNA traces help French police find notorious 'serial rapist'

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Suspect held over 'rapes, attempted rapes and sexual assaults' on 34 women aged from 27 to 72 in forest near Paris from 1995 to 2001.

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DNA traces helped police identify and arrest a Frenchman suspected of 34 rapes or attempted rapes in a suburban Paris forest from 1995 to 2001, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Evry deputy prosecutor Bertrand Daillie told the Associated Press the suspect has been charged* with "rapes, attempted rapes and sexual assaults" on 34 women aged from 27 to 72 year-old.

The 40-year-old man was arrested Monday at his home in Roubaix in northern France.

During questioning the suspect said he didn't deny the facts but that he did not remember committing them, according to Daillie.

The analysis of his DNA following his arrest has matched with the DNA found on the 34 victims, Daillie said.

The deputy prosecutor said the man was identified through DNA found on rape victims and genetic material from one of the suspect's brother found in French criminal databases.

Read more from this report by the Chicago Tribune.

* Editor's note: Under a change to the French legal system introduced in 1993, a magistrate can decide a suspect should be 'placed under investigation' (mise en examen), which is a status one step short of being charged (inculpé), if there is 'serious or concordant' evidence that they committed a crime. Some English-language media describe this status, peculiar to French criminal law, as that of being charged. In fact, it is only at the end of an investigation that a decision can be made to bring charges, in which case the accused is automatically sent for trial.

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