New DNA Evidence Leads to Arrest of Trucker Suspected of Being “Serial Rapist”
Clearfield, UT – A Utah trucker was arrested on Wednesday in connection to decades-old rape cases in Utah and Wyoming that were previously considered cold.
Mark Douglas Burns, 69, from Ogden, was arrested on September 25 by the Clearfield Police Department (CPD) after the Utah State Crime Lab positively connected Burns’s DNA to the DNA from the rape cases.
According to CPD, several law enforcement agencies initiated a cold case investigation in May 2015 into six sexual assault incidents that took place in Utah and Wyoming between 1991 and 2001.
Around the same time, investigators began working with the TV show “Cold Justice Sex Crimes,” and using advanced DNA technology, connected the alleged “serial rapist” to three more crimes.
Victims of the previously-unidentified alleged “serial rapist” said their attacker tied them up and sexually assaulted them, sometimes forcing family members to watch the “brutal” attacks, CPD said in a release.
The alleged victims reported their attacker smelled like alcohol and used a gun or knife during the attack.
The victims also reportedly lived in apartment buildings, and the attacker was suspected of using a sliding glass door to gain access to the homes.
Ultimately, DNA connected law enforcement to a relative of Burns who shared “similar DNA characteristics” to the alleged rapist, and the family member connected them to Burns.
DNA collected from Burns positively connected him to the DNA from the nine rape cases.
“The sexual assaults were incomprehensible, brutal, and methodical attacks on females,” CPD said in a statement.
Due to Burns’s career as an over-the-road trucker who traveled the Western states, police believe there may be more victims.
“Because of the grievous and brutal nature of these crimes, detectives believe there are more victims and do not believe Mr. Burns suddenly stopped committing such heinous crimes since 2001. We are encouraging victims who have been assaulted by an unknown attacker with similar circumstances to contact their local police department,” authorities said.
Burns has been charged with eight counts of aggravated sexual assault, six counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated robbery.
Charging documents said Burns was convicted of rape in North Carolina in 1974 and served a “lengthy prison sentence.”
Upon his release from prison in North Carolina, Burns moved to Utah.
Neighbors of Burns told Utah-news outlet KUTV they are “shocked” by the allegations.
“He was a model neighbor, friendly, he was willing to do things for you if you needed help,” Pat Sheehan told KUTV, who lived next door to Burns for the past 10 years.
Burns is being held without bail at the Davis County Jail.
Through the collaborative effort of local law enforcement agencies in Utah and Wyoming, the Davis County Attorney’s Office, the Utah State Crime Lab, Genetic Genealogist Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter and other private industry organizations, today marks the arrest of a serial rapist. pic.twitter.com/YknbyqBqjC
— Clearfield PD, Utah (@ClearfieldPD) September 25, 2019