ITHACA, N.Y. –– DNA evidence has been sent to a New York State police lab, in connection with two October sexual assaults on or near hiking trails in Ithaca.

The first incident took place on Oct. 14 on the 2600 block of Danby Road, near the Finger Lakes Trail.

The second incident reportedly took place on Oct. 28 on the Thayer Preserve Trail on Sand Bank Road in Ithaca.

The incidents were initially reported as ‘forcible touching.’ The Oct. 14 incident was later changed to a rape case.

The suspect is described as a white man between the ages of 20 and 30, between 5’6″ and 5’8″ with a stocky build. At the time of the assaults, the suspect was wearing dark clothing and a ski mask, and brandishing a knife.

The Sheriff’s Office feels strongly that the two incidents are connected.

DNA from one of the crime scenes has been recovered by local law enforcement and sent to a New York State Police lab for testing.

Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osbourne said the results, “could take an excess of six months,” to come back.

Even then, he said it will take “many many months,” to match results with any known suspects.

Osbourne said that the investigators on the case are following up on leads, but that those leads are beginning to, ‘bottom out.’

“We haven’t had any further complaints or incidents, I think they’ve stopped, probably due to the media attention,” Osbourne added.

Anyone with information related to the possible identity of the suspect is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Division at 607-257-1345, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 607-266-5420 or the Tompkins County 911 Center at 607-272-2444.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com