Updated: Accused ‘Potomac River Rapist’ from 1990s Arrested in South Carolina
Most of the 10 attacks reported were in Montgomery County; a homicide was in D.C.
A mugshot of Warrick, left, provided by the Horry County, S.C. Sheriff's Office. A sketch, right, by the FBI from 2011 shows a profile of the suspect sought in the "Potomac River Rapist" case. The sketch has been aged from 1998.
Horry County, S.C. Sheriff's Office and FBI
A man accused of committing several violent crimes in Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., in the 1990s — including a homicide — has been arrested in South Carolina, law enforcement agencies announced Thursday.
Giles Warrick, 60, believed to be the “Potomac River Rapist,” is accused of attacking multiple women in the Washington area between 1991 and 1998, according to the FBI.
In one attack, in 1998, Christine Mirzayan, a 29-year-old intern at the National Academy of Sciences, was killed while walking home from a cookout in Washington, D.C., according to the FBI.
According to a press release from Montgomery County police, Warrick would cut the phone lines, enter the women’s homes, cover their heads and sexually assault them.
D.C. police, Montgomery County police, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were all involved in the pursuit of Warrick.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham was joined by Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones at a press conference in D.C. on Thursday. Newsham said Warrick was arrested in Conway in Horry County, S.C., Tuesday by authorities there.
Warrick is alleged to have attacked at least 10 women, although authorities said Thursday it is possible there were other victims.
Newsham said that over the years, the four criminal justice agencies formed a local task force that identified Warrick as a “possible suspect” through DNA testing and genetic genealogy techniques.
According to a map provided by the FBI, eight of the 10 attacks were reported in Montgomery County.
The Montgomery County victims ages ranged between 18 and 41, according to the FBI. The attacks occurred in:
- Washingtonian Woods in Gaithersburg on May 6, 1991
- Watkins Meadows in Germantown on Sept. 5, 1991
- Potomac Village on Nov. 21, 1991
- Quince Orchard Knolls in North Potomac on Dec. 11, 1991
- Potomac Grove in North Potomac on Jan. 24, 1992
- Highwood in Rockville on March 8, 1994
- Rock Creed Manor in Rockville on Feb. 26, 1997
- In the Cloverly area of Silver Spring on Nov. 14, 1997
Jones said at the press conference that there was a DNA match in six reported attacks in Montgomery County. He credited the department’s cold case unit and Officer StevenSmugeresky for their work in linking the Montgomery County victims to Warrick.
Jones said they knew Warrick was behind the attacks based on DNA evidence traced to six cases.
Jones said police used online ancestry databases to look up family members of Warrick’s living near Montgomery County. He was not sure how far up Warrick’s family tree investigators searched.
Smugeresky has expertise in genetic genealogy and solved a string of rape cases in Germantown around 2010 using the same method, Jones said.
Jones said Warrick lived in the Washington area for most of last two decades, only recently moving to South Carolina. At one point, Warrick worked for a contractor of an area utility company, Jones said.
Newsham said Warrick will be extradited to the District of Columbia and be charged with murder and sexual assault. He will then go through the Montgomery County court system, he said.
Warrick is charged with six counts of first-degree rape in Montgomery County, according to a press release from the police.
Jones said he hoped Warrick’s arrest would give the victims and their families a sense of closure. He urged anyone with information about possible other victims of Warrick to come forward.
“Our work is not done. I can tell you that,” Jones said.
Warrick’s arrest was first reported by WTOP.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org