Thomas Graham was identified on December 16, 2021, as the lead suspect in three cold case sexual assaults that took place in the 1990s in Cleveland, Ohio.
The first victim was a 25-year-old woman who was attacked on June 7, 1994, when Graham picked her up in his vehicle near Madison Avenue. He then drove her to an alley where he sexually assaulted her at knifepoint. A SAK was obtained from the victim at the hospital. It has been reported that the victim had met Graham briefly two weeks earlier.
The second victim was a 20-year-old woman who was attacked on November 24, 1994, when Graham approached her as she walked down the street near West 44th Street and Clark Avenue and forced her into his vehicle. He then drove her to a nearby location where he sexually assaulted her and then pushed her out of the vehicle. A SAK was obtained from the victim at the hospital.
The third victim was a 27-year-old woman who was attacked on August 30, 1998, when Graham picked her up in his vehicle near West 47th Street and Lorain Avenue. He sexually assaulted her and stole $40 before pushing her out of the vehicle. A SAK was obtained from the victim at the hospital.
A DNA profile from the SAKs was obtained and matched to a single suspect in 2013, but there were no hits in the CODIS database. The suspect, known as “John Doe #11” was chosen as one of 20 priority cases for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office’s G.O.L.D. (Genetic Operations Linking DNA) Unit. The funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice in October of 2020.
The FGG investigation was conducted by Barbara Rae-Venter of Gene By Gene. The initial confirmation was made through the surreptitious sampling of a close relative of Graham. The final confirmation was made after investigators obtained a warrant for tissue samples held at the Cleveland Clinic, where the suspect received treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Graham passed away from pancreatic cancer in October 2020, and a motion to dismiss the case due to his death was filed on December 16, 2021.
Anderson, Chris. “3 ‘Most Wanted’ Suspects Identified in Decades-Old Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Cases.” Cleveland 19 News, December 28, 2021. Accessed January 9, 2022. https://www.cleveland19.com/2021/12/28/3-most-wanted-suspects-identified-decades-old-cuyahoga-county-sexual-assault-cases/.
Belle, Cris. “Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Identifies Three More Sexual Assault Suspects on ’20 Most Wanted’ List.” Fox 8 News, December 28, 2021. Accessed January 9, 2022. https://fox8.com/news/cuyahoga-county-prosecutor-identifies-three-more-sexual-assault-suspects-on-20-most-wanted-list/.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. “Ohio’s G.O.L.D. Unit IDs 3 More Sexual Assault Suspects from 20 Most Wanted.” Forensic Magazine, January 5, 2022. Accessed January 9, 2022. https://www.forensicmag.com/582405-Ohio-s-G-O-L-D-Unit-IDs-3-More-Sexual-Assault-Suspects-from-20-Most-Wanted/.
Shaffer, Cory. “Cuyahoga County Prosecutors’ Genealogical DNA Unit IDs Three More Men Accused of Raping Women in the 1990s.” Cleveland.com, December 27, 2021. Accessed January 9, 2022. https://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/2021/12/cuyahoga-county-prosecutors-genealogical-dna-unit-ids-three-more-men-accused-of-raping-women-in-the-1990s.html.