HAMILTON HEIGHTS (WPIX)—A 21-year-old man was placed under arrest Sunday night after police discovered his DNA matched that found in four serial rapes in Upper Manhattan.
Vincent Heyward, who lives at 281 Edgecombe Avenue, was stopped by officers in the area on Tuesday at around 12:30 a.m. when they said he resembled the rapist in police sketches. Heyward responded to the officers, "Yeah, that does look like me" and voluntarily provided a DNA sample, according to NYPD Chief Spokesman Paul J. Browne.
By 3 p.m. Sunday, the chief medical examiner confirmed that Heyward's cheek swab sample matched evidence from all four crime scenes. Officers soon arrived at his residence, where he was not present. Heyward later peacefully surrendered after six hours of negotiations through a relative.
Detectives on the case took DNA samples from at least 10 people, followed about 100 tips from the public and combed through 200 hours of video from 75 different cameras in an effort to track down the rapist.
Heyward lives just two blocks away from the last sexual assault, which occurred on September 7 at around 1 a.m., where a 28-year-old Japanese woman was raped inside her home near St. Nicholas Avenue and West 147th Street after the rapist entered her seventh-floor bathroom by climbing a fire escape. The knife-wielding suspect also robbed the victim.
The other victims include three white women: a 59-year-old who was attacked on August 1 in an alleyway on 148 Street near Broadway; a 23-year-old attacked on August 10 in an apartment building elevator on Hamilton Terrace near 144 Street; and a 69-year-old attacked on August 18, also in an apartment building elevator, on Riverside Drive near 158 Street. These women were also robbed and assaulted during early morning hours.
All four rapes occurred within a 14-block area of Upper Manhattan, which includes the neighborhoods of Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights and Sugar Hill.
Charges against Heyward have not been announced.