A DNA Database Before Its Time

Some 50 years ago, Rudiger Breitenecker—a Vienna-born forensic pathologist who’d witnessed mass rape by Red Army soldiers—set up a dedicated unit in Baltimore for investigating sexual assaults promptly and preserving the evidence.
He trained physicians to collect swabs and search for traces of the attacker. “It could be useful one day,” he said of his thousands of specimens.  
It was. Starting in 2004, a dedicated team of Baltimore County detectives started using the DNA samples to identify serial rapists whose crimes spanned decades.
When other police departments asked how they did it, the answer was: “Do you have a Dr. Breitenecker?”

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