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Crime News

Police Nail Alleged 'NorCal Rapist' Using Same DNA Tactics That Caught GSK

The NorCal Rapist is connected to 10 brutal attacks in Northern California between 1991 and 2006, police said.

By Noah Hurowitz

A married California man and veteran employee of the University of California, Berkeley, has been arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes after investigators zeroed in on him using DNA evidence and genealogy websites, officials said.

Roy Charles Waller, 58, was arrested Thursday afternoon in Berkeley and charged with being the infamous “NorCal Rapist,” a serial sexual predator who stalked Northern California for more than a decade and committed at least 10 rapes between 1991 and 2006 before mysteriously vanishing, according to police and prosecutors.

One investigator, Detective Avis Beery, of the Sacramento Police Department, said the arrest was a longtime coming, both for investigators and for at least one of the victims of the alleged serial rapist.

“I never gave up hope that this day would come,” Beery said at a press conference on Friday. “I spoke with one of the victims this morning, briefly and not very long ago, and she was overcome and over the top with emotion and happiness to see that this person is in custody."

“The victims in this case can stop looking over their shoulders,” she added.

Waller, who worked for 25 years as a safety specialist in the university’s office of environment, health and safety, was linked directly to two rapes that occurred on Oct. 14, 2006, according to a 12-count indictment filed against him by prosecutors in Sacramento.

His DNA profile also matches that of the evidence gleaned from the nine other crimes linked to the NorCal rapist. More charges against him are expected, officials said.

The NorCal Rapist’s 15-year reign of terror began in Rohnert Park, and spanned six counties across Northern California, with his modus operandi typically involving breaking into homes in the dead of night, tying up women, and repeatedly sexually assaulting them before disappearing, officials said.

In the two cases in which he’s been charged in Sacramento, he allegedly raped the first woman, identified only as “K.Doe,” four times, according to charging documents obtained by Oxygen.com.

The NorCal Rapist would also sometimes kidnap women and force them to withdraw cash from an ATM, or steal personal belongings, according to Detective Avis Beery, of the Sacramento Police Department.

But apart from how he operated, the main through line connecting each crime to the same rapist over more than a decade was the DNA left behind at each crime scene, said Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert at a press conference Friday.

The break in the case came after the Sacramento Police Department and investigators with the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office teamed up with genealogy websites and DNA databases to narrow down the scope of their investigation, eventually pinpointing Waller, Schubert said.

“The answer has always been in the DNA,” Schubert told reporters. “Through an incredible partnership between science and passionate policework, the answer that many have waited so long has come to us in the last 10 days.”

The technique used to nab Waller is the same that five months ago led to the arrest of Joseph DeAngelo, who is accused of being the infamous Golden State Killer, and who is linked to at least a dozen rapes and murders in California from 1974 to 1986.

In a statement to Oxygen.com, a spokeswoman for the university expressed dismay at the accusations against the longtime employee, but added that there is no indication any of his alleged crimes took place on university property or against students, staff, or faculty.

“We were shocked today to learn that a campus employee was arrested in connection with a series of rapes that occurred more than a decade ago in several Northern California communities,” the spokeswoman, Janet Gilmore, said in an email. “UCPD will be reviewing any open sexual assault cases to determine if any might be related.”

According to Gilmore, Waller has been employed by the school since 1992, and his duties included managing safety assurance programs and training in the use of equipment such as forklifts.

Waller is currently being held at Sacramento County Jail without bail, according to online jail records.

[Photo: Sacramento Police Department]