ACTON, MASS. (WHDH) - A Lunenburg man has been arrested and charged in connection with a rape in Acton from nearly 10 years ago, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced on Tuesday.
Christopher Aldrich, 28, was arraigned following his arrest on a charge of aggravated rape, according to the DA’s office.
The incident took place on the evening of June 18, 2013, when police said a 22 year old woman was raped at knifepoint at the South Acton Commuter Rail station.
Officials said the victim was able to call for help. But, when police arrived, they said the suspect had already fled the scene. Police had no surveillance video to help identify the man.
The DA’s office said in a statement that the victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was treated. A trained sexual assault nurse examiner collected forensic evidence during the treatment, which was used to develop a DNA profile of the attacker in this case, the DA’s office said.
The DA’s office said investigators compared that profile with state and national offender databases without success.
Seven years later, Ryan said investigators were able to begin connecting Aldrich to the crime using forensic genetic genealogy.
Ryan explained the technology, which she said can take a DNA profile and identify distant relatives.
“It can tell you who and what that relationship is,” she said. “It then allows you to essentially begin to build a family tree working backwards towards the potential source.”
Ryan said Aldrich was then involved in a car crash in Acton in November of last year. Investigators were able to collect items from his car that had his DNA on them.
Though the DNA matched, Ryan said officials didn’t have enough evidence to charge Aldrich. She said both the Acton Police Department and detectives from the MBTA Transit Police still had to conduct investigative work.
Officials ultimately secured a warrant for Aldrich late last week.
Ryan applauded the work of investigators in this case, also telling victims in other cold cases that investigators won’t ever give up.
“We are changing the narrative of what defines ‘cold case’ and at the same time sending a strong message to victims and perpetrators of sexual violence in this county,” she said in her statement. “The mere passage of time does nothing to affect our resolve to pursue justice in these cases.”
A judge on Tuesday ordered that Aldrich be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.
Aldrich is due back in court on March 22.
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