A man is in custody and faces multiple sexual assault charges after police say detectives were able to use his DNA to link him to two unsolved cases from the 1990s.
According to the Denton Police Department, Marcus Deshon Johnson, 53, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and three counts of aggravated sexual abuse related to cases from 1993 and 1997.
Detectives said in a statement Tuesday that on Oct. 21, 1993, a 15-year-old girl said she was sexually assaulted by a man while waiting for members of her cross country team at a park in the 2000 block of W. Windsor Drive. Four years later, on September 17, 1997, a woman reported being sexually assaulted in the same park while out for a walk.
Denton police said the same investigator worked both cases and that after “a thorough investigation and interviews with the two sexual assault survivors, the evidence led the detective to believe the two cases are related.” However, Denton police said: “Despite this important development, all suspect leads at this time have been exhausted and have not identified the suspect responsible.”
In 1998, crime lab reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicated that DNA collected in both cases may be from the same person.
“The profile was obtained and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and has been continuously searched since its entry in 1999. No hits,” police said.
Police said in a statement Tuesday that Johnson was identified this year as a person of interest in the cases after a statewide DNA search said there was “a reasonable likelihood that the unknown serial sexual assault suspect is related to a specific known perpetrator in the criminal justice system.”
Detectives learned Johnson now lives in Las Vegas. Denton police are working with Las Vegas police and the FBI to obtain a DNA sample for further analysis, the results of which “conclude that Johnson’s DNA profile cannot be ruled out as contributing to the DNA samples collected during the investigations from 1993 and 1997.’
Officers also learned that the description of the attacker given by the two survivors during their initial interviews was similar to Johnson’s appearance.
Johnson was arrested and charged in the cases on July 25. Police said additional samples of his DNA were collected after his arrest pursuant to signed search warrants. Johnson was released on July 26 after posting a $50,000 bond. It is not clear if he has found a lawyer.
Denton police said the arrest was made possible through the use of a grant from the department’s Evidence Management Unit from the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), which provides funds to police departments working to solve cold cases of sexual violence. Denton Police is one of five agencies in Texas that applied for and received the SAKI grant.