A 30-year-old piece of evidence in a rape case–a pair of women’s underpants–has led to the DNA identification of a suspect in at least 24 other rapes and sexual assaults stretching from New York to Maryland, the New York Times reports. The DNA matches have linked the man to a The Maryland cases might be only the beginning, as other states run the suspect’s samples through their own DNA databanks. The man, Fletcher Anderson Worrell, 58, was located in an Atlanta suburb last year after he tried to buy a shotgun. The background check turned up two arrest warrants for him in New York City.
As Manhattan prosecutors were preparing to extradite Worrell from Georgia, they looked in his old file and found one victim’s underwear. “It ought to send a chill through a lot of defendants to know that after 32 years you can still test for DNA,” said Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan district attorney. Worrell, who has declared his innocence in the New York cases, is being held without bail in New York City’s Rikers Island jail.