CNN — Kurt Alan Rillema, 51, was arrested last week and arraigned in Michigan on charges of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He also faces felony charges in Pennsylvania, according to court documents.
The charges are the latest stemming from advances in investigative genetic genealogy leading authorities to a suspect in a decades-old cold case.
The first rape Rillema is accused of was reported at a golf course in Michigan in 1999.
Someone came in through an employee-only door and sexually assaulted a young woman who was working at the course’s food stand, said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard at a news conference last week.
Investigators at the time obtained DNA but didn’t have a suspect, the sheriff said.
Then, another rape was reported in 2000 at a golf course at Penn State University, where a woman was attacked while she was jogging and raped at knife point, court documents say.
Investigators in both states, who had submitted DNA samples to a national database, got a match linking the attacks to the same suspect, Bouchard said.
“Now you’ve got people that are victims in different parts of the country with the same kind of M.O., both on a golf course,” the sheriff said.
It wasn’t until years later – thanks to advances in genetic genealogy – that investigators got a lead.
Investigators in both states solicited the help of DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs, which can use genetic genealogy and other research methods to find suspects using DNA by searching for relatives in public databases and building family trees.
The lab concluded it was likely one of three brothers who were responsible for both rapes, according to Centre County First Assistant District Attorney Sean McGraw.
Authorities were able to narrow the list to Rillema after Michigan police obtained a DNA sample by following him and taking his DNA from a Styrofoam coffee cup …