Cold-case investigators are taking a fresh look at a string of sexual attacks on school-age girls in the early 2000s, and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is seeking the public’s help to bring the assailant to justice.
“This predator struck multiple counties in at least two states – behavior that suggests more victims might still be out there,” Yost said. “We urge them and anyone else with knowledge of similar attacks to contact our investigators. Your tips could solve this vicious crime spree.”
The Cold Case Unit at Yost’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is concentrating on seven sexual assaults from 2001 to 2003 in Ashtabula, Lake and Summit counties. The case similarities make investigators believe that the same man is responsible for the attacks.
The suspect in each assault was a white male, roughly 30 years old, who posed as a salesman or repairman and targeted girls who had just taken a school bus home. After knocking on a victim’s door, the man usually asked for directions or for information about the home’s occupants, likely to determine whether the victim was alone. He then asked to make a phone call and forced his way inside.
The man wore sunglasses and a baseball hat, and sometimes carried a clipboard. He possibly drove a black or silver midsize sedan. Victims ranged in age from 11 to 18.
Investigators believe the cases are linked to similar assaults in Pennsylvania from the same period. Pennsylvania State Police recently identified a suspect in one of those cases, Daniel Danzinger, a 61-year-old Florida resident who lived in Ohio at the time of the crimes.
Authorities zeroed in on Danzinger by applying forensic genealogy technology to DNA from the crime scene. A DNA sample obtained with a search warrant matched the crime scene evidence.
Danzinger was arrested on Oct. 2 and is awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania.
BCI asks anyone with information about Danzinger or cases like those in Ohio and Pennsylvania to call 855-BCI-OHIO.