Alleged Serial Rapist Arrested for Crimes Dating Back to 1991

A man suspected of committing a series of rapes and sexual assaults in Utah and Wyoming over the course of 10 years has been apprehended, police announced Wednesday.

Mark Douglas Burns, 69, is alleged to have committed the violent assaults from 1991 to 2001. A press release from the Clearfield City Police Department says that DNA played a key role in identifying Burns. Collection of DNA evidence during the investigations, which spanned the course of 25 years, aided a renewed focus on the case, which came in 2015 as multiple agencies collaborated with a true crime television show, Cold Justice: Sex Crimes.

Officials state that Burns, of Ogden, Utah, had previously been convicted of rape in North Carolina in 1974, and served many years in prison for the crime before moving west. The sexual assaults Burns was charged with on Wednesday all occurred in western United States in the time after he was released from prison.

The women Burns is alleged to have assaulted report a similar "modus operandi" from their attacker, according to investigators. Matching details which link the assaults include the smell of alcohol on the attacker's breath, the attacker binding his victims, blindfolding and threatening them with a firearm or knife. The victims are said to have mostly lived in apartment buildings during the time of the assaults, and in some instances the suspect is thought to have gained entry through sliding glass doors.

hands cuffed behind back
Police announced the arrest of suspected serial rapist Mark Douglas Burns, of Ogden, Utah, on Wednesday. Getty

During the 2015 cold case investigation, it was believed that the then-unidentified attacker committed several of the rapes while additional family members were home with the victim. The family members were often aware of the assault, but were threatened by the armed man if they attempted to intervene.

Burns was charged with eight counts of aggravated sexual assault, six counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated robbery. A press conference scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. is expected to provide more details.

In the meantime, authorities believe Burns could be responsible for additional sexual assaults, and have asked potential victims to come forward.

"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," state Clearfield Police. "Mr. Burns's occupation included a long haul truck driver, and has visited multiple cities in the Western United States. We are encouraging victims who have been assaulted by an unknown attacker with similar circumstances to contact their local police.

Alleged Serial Rapist Arrested for Crimes Dating Back to 1991 | News