Face Mask Leads Israeli Police to Suspect in Decade-old Rape Case

An indictment is expected to be filed against the suspect, a man from Jerusalem now in his thirties

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
Forensic evidence gleaned from the alleged offender’s COVID face mask led law enforcement right to the suspect.
Forensic evidence gleaned from the alleged offender’s COVID face mask led law enforcement right to the suspect.Credit: Frank Rumpenhorst /AP
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Israel Police are finally charging a suspect in a rape case from 13 years ago after forensic evidence gleaned from the alleged offender’s COVID face mask enabled law enforcement officers to identify him, police announced Thursday.

According to police, the suspect offered to help a woman visiting Israel for a seminar carry her musical instruments, then led her to a dark public park where he hit her on the head and raped her. He then fled the scene and the woman was evacuated to a hospital. The victim arrived in Israel at investigators' request earlier this week after they were able to locate her at her residence abroad.

The court extended the suspect's detention for a week on Monday, and an indictment is expected to be filed against him today. The suspect, a Jerusalem man now in his thirties whose name is barred from publication, was a minor when the offense was committed in 2009.

In a statement, the police said that advances in forensic science allowed them to narrow the focus to the current suspect, after which evidence gleaned from his mask was used to confirm his identity as the rapist.

“This is further proof that even over time, we are working resolutely and in a sophisticated manner to locate the criminals and prosecute them,” Jerusalem District commander Doron Turgeman said in a statement.

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