Construction worker charged in cold case r@pes after DNA link found: cops

A married construction worker in Washington state has been arr-ested for r@ping two women nearly two decades ago, police said.

Kenneth David Downing, 47, was taken into cus-tody Thursday at a job site in Spokane after investigators linked him to two home in-vasions and se-xual as-saults in Pullman in November 2003 and March 2004.

“This cold case arrest was made possible through DNA matches, using evidence collected at the time that the crimes occurred,” Pullman police said in a statement.

Downing, of Elk, was tied to the att-acks by investigators using forensic genetic genealogy. His bail was set at $5 million after prosecutors ar-gued he’s still a th-reat to the public, KREM reported.

Downing, who appeared in court Friday, is facing four counts of r@pe, three counts of ass-ault and other charges for all-egedly att-acking the two vic-tims months apart.

Prosecutors said one woman told investigators the sus-pect se-xually ass-aulted her three times during the att-ack and even made small talk at one point, asking her about her pets, KREM reported.

The woman still lives in fear some 18 years later, prosecutors said.

Kenneth Downing faces bail of $5 million after prosecutors ar-gued he was still a me-nace to society.

Months after the initial att-ack, authorities said, Downing broke into another woman’s apartment and r@ped her at kn-ifepoint after tying up and ass-aulting her roommate.

Cops took evidence from both cr-ime scenes and later entered DNA into a genealogy database, ultimately leading them to Downing after one of his relatives sent in a sample to inquire about their lineage, KREM reported.

Downing, who faces up to life in pr-ison if con-victed, told a judge Friday he’s a married man with several children who has been living in the area for the last decade.

Kenneth Downs was identified by investigators using forensic genetic genealogy. He faces life impri-sonment if he is con-victed of the cr-imes.

Pullman police declined to identify the site where Downing was arr-ested, as well as which company he was working for at the time, the Spokesman-Review reported.

“I think that it’s important that after 18 years, our vic-tims here in Pullman now can have some closure and don’t have to worry about this guy running around out there still,” Pullman police Sgt. Aaron Breshears told the newspaper.

Pullman police partnered with a private company in 2020 to take a look at the cold case, later identifying a “family tree” that narrowed down the search significantly, Breshears said.

“Rather than a needle in the haystack, we now had a family to look at, as far as sus-pects based upon this forensic genetic genealogy,” Breshears told the newspaper.

Downing, who has pleaded not gu-ilty, was assigned a court-appointed att-orney and is due back in court on March 25, KHQ-TV reported.


Cassidy Campbell

Hi! This is Cassidy! I love to write, enjoy nature, sing and sleep.