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Cops Use Social Media to Hunt Potomac River Rapist

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on December 20, 2011 7:45 AM

The FBI is using social media in its efforts to identify and arrest the Potomac River Rapist.

The movement was partially inspired by the recent arrest of the East Coast rapist in March. That effort was bolstered by a similar partnership between social media and the public, reports the Washington Post.

It's unclear whether or not the suspect is still alive, or if he's already in jail. What is known is that he assaulted 7 to 9 women in the D.C. area between 1991 and 1997.

Victims were aged 18 to 41. His last assault took place on August 1, 1998. That night, he raped then 28-year-old biochemistry doctorate Christine Mirzayan. He then fatally beat her on the head with a 73-pound rock.

Officials have the man's DNA, and a sketch of what he looks like. Beyond that, there's not much for them to go on. That's why they've turned to the public.

The new website, fbi.gov/potomacriverrapist, contains a wide array of information about the crimes. There's video, podcasts, a timeline of the events, and even photos of some of the victims' personal effects. The webpage also contains information about a $25,000 award for information that may lead to an arrest.

Besides the website, information about the cold case also graces digital billboards along highways and in bus shelters in 15 different states.

Can he still be charged? Statute of limitations bar prosecutors from bringing charges against a criminal defendant after a certain period of time. The time period starts tolling usually after the crime occurred.

There is no statute of limitations for murder in D.C. That's why if information gleaned from the FBI's social media efforts does lead to an arrest, it's likely that the Potomac River Rapist can still be prosecuted for his crimes.

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