Police: DNA Links Ogden Man to 1991 Rape of 14-Year-Old Girl in Wyoming, Multiple Other Rape Cases
ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo.– A truck driver living in Ogden has been linked through DNA to a 1991 rape case involving a 14-year-old girl and at least 10 other rape cases across Utah and Wyoming, Rock Springs Police Sgt. Tim Robinson said.
Tracking down Burns, 69, took thousands of hours of manpower and collaboration between law-enforcement agencies in Utah and Wyoming.
“Who would believe in little old Rock Springs, Wyoming that some guy is going to crawl through a bedroom window and rape a 14-year-old girl at gun point and leave?” Robinson said.
It’s the first known incident in a series of at least 10 rapes in Utah and Wyoming linked to Burns.
Robinson was assigned to the Rock Springs case in 2007.
“You know it’s frustrating, it’s frustrating for all of the officers involved,” Robinson shared of the years spent following cold leads and finding more cases linked to the suspected serial rapist.
It wasn’t until recently when detectives, through genealogical work, linked the suspect’s DNA profile to the Burns’ family line, eventually tracking down Burns’ half-brother. A DNA test linked the half-brother to the suspect’s DNA profile as a close relative.
“Through that process we were able to identify Mark Douglas Burns,” Robinson said.
Surveillance of Burns, a truck driver living in Ogden, began late last week, according to Robinson.
“Detective Carlson from Clearfield was able to obtain some of his trash, now we wanted to get that processed fast, because we knew that this was our guy,” Robinson said.
With the trash in hand last Thursday evening, detectives devised a plan to quickly transport it for DNA processing at the Wyoming State Crime Laboratory in Cheyenne.
“I drove to Evanston, Wyoming and met detective Carlson and picked up the evidence, drove it to Wamsutter, Wyoming where I met Detective Senior from Laramie, gave it to him, he drove straight to our crime lab in Cheyenne and gave it to the lab there,” Robinson said.
A few hours later, Robinson said he got the answer they were hoping for.
“At about 11:20 p.m. I get a text message from the Wyoming State Crime Lab, we got your DNA and it’s your guy. It was great,” Robinson said.
Robinson was able to witness Burns being taken into custody on Wednesday.
“He looked defeated it was good to see,” Robinson said.
Robinson was finally able to give the Rocks Springs survivor of sexual assault the news she has waited to hear for several years.
“The last sight that our victim had of this guy was looking out the window watching him run across the yard, into the street and down the street. You know that was the last thing she knew. Now she can look at his face and say that’s the guy that did this to me,” Robinson shared.
As for the work of the dozens of people involved in the case, “Well it was a good group effort, there was a lot of people who really cared,” Robinson shared as he held back tears.
Robinson said Burns was arrested after he returned from one of his truck runs.
He also reports that detectives have already been getting phone calls from other potential victims. They believe Burns committed other crimes throughout the western United States.
Burns initial appearance in court is scheduled for Monday, September 30.
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