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First Detective in Serial Rape Case Says Case ‘Was Personal On So Many Levels’

Sep 30, 2019, 7:24 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Reflecting from her living room, former detective Lynette Griffith said a rape case she was called out to in 1991 in Rock Springs, Wyoming, was particularly troubling.

“It was personal on many levels,” Griffith said. “One, it was a child, and I was a mother at that time myself, and you think of somebody breaking in your house in the middle of the night.”

Investigators said 69-year-old Mark Douglas Burns, who is accused of raping women in Utah and Wyoming, typically entered through unlocked sliding glass doors, tying up his victims and assaulting them for sometimes several hours. Griffith said the case back in 1991 was similar.

“The unknown suspect at that time crawled through a bedroom window,” Griffith said. “He had a gun. He bound her, and sexually assaulted her in several different ways.”

For nearly three decades, Griffith said that case never left her.

“Whatever I thought I felt because it was unsolved, I always just multiplied that for the parents,” Griffith said. “I worked with both the parents on and off for the rest of my career. So anytime you see the parents, it always is in the back of your mind.”

Griffith said the case affected a lot of people.

“That particular summer, we had three similar cases, so the community would be on edge,” she said.

When Griffith heard last week that investigators had a suspect, thanks to breakthroughs in DNA technology, she was relieved.

“And just thought, ‘OK. This is okay now,'” Griffith said. “I went from calm to being very emotional.”

As investigators continue to get more information, Griffith added the case as a whole may be far from closed.

“It’s not done. It might just be in its infancy,” Griffith said. “Imagine that. After 28 years, we’re maybe starting over with a whole set of new families that have been affected.”

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First Detective in Serial Rape Case Says Case ‘Was Personal On So Many Levels’