Suspect in 3 rapes linked to 4th attack

DNA ties man to break-in, rape in Canton in 2007

February 18, 2010|By Justin Fenton |

A 19-year-old Baltimore man, charged with raping a Canton woman after shoveling her snow in December and with two attacks in rural Virginia, has been linked through DNA to a fourth rape that occurred in Canton in 2007.

Donald D. Vaughan has been held since Dec. 21, when he was arrested and charged with raping and slashing the throat of a Canton woman who had paid him to shovel her front sidewalk. Vaughan had returned to Baltimore after a few months living in tiny Kilmarnock, Va., where he was under surveillance as a suspect in two rapes. The Baltimore Sun reported that a Maryland judge let Vaughan move to Virginia, where local authorities assumed responsibility for Vaughan's juvenile supervision under interstate agreements. But they did not notify Maryland officials that Vaughan was returning for the holidays or that he was a rape suspect.

Now city police have charged Vaughan in a fourth attack, which court records say occurred Jan. 1, 2007, in the 2700 block of Dillon St. The crime follows a pattern of break-ins and attacks that Vaughan has been accused of since a young age.

The victim was watching television in her living room when she heard a noise coming from the second floor, according to court records. She saw a man wearing a black hooded sweat shirt, blue jeans and a red bandanna as a mask. He punched her in the face and knocked her down the steps, records show. He demanded money, and took a watch and $75 from her purse, police said.

The man then forced her to perform various sex acts, took her bank card and fled through a back door, records show. The check card was used at a bank, a convenience store and an ATM, and the victim said she later determined that several pieces of jewelry worth $800 had been taken from her bedroom.

Police submitted evidence and determined that the intruder had entered the residence using an outside spiral staircase.

On Jan. 20, city police were notified by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, which advised it had matched DNA collected from that crime scene to a sample taken from Vaughan in December.

Juvenile court records are sealed in Maryland. According to a law enforcement source, Vaughan had been committed to a residential facility and a judge allowed Vaughan to be released Sept. 25, 2009, to live with his mother in a Virginia town, shifting his supervision to Virginia authorities. Within two months, two violent rapes stunned the tiny community, where the police chief said he hadn't investigated a single rape complaint in 24 years.

The first rape was reported Nov. 28, when a woman in her late 60s was attacked by an intruder. Her husband, who is hard of hearing, did not know the attack was occurring. On Dec. 1, a woman in her 30s was sexually assaulted in her home.

A local Crime Stoppers program offered a $1,000 reward, but residents determined that wasn't enough. The Town Council approved $5,000, the maximum allowed, and encouraged residents and businesses to do the same, swelling the fund to $10,000.

Local police contacted a criminal profiler, and they quickly zeroed in on Vaughan. They monitored him around the clock and took a DNA sample.

On Dec. 16, Vaughan received permission from his Virginia probation agent to visit family for Christmas. Virginia authorities say they notified Maryland officials that he was returning, but state officials told The Sun they received a fax on the day after Vaughan had been arrested in the snow shovel incident, and only after Maryland officials say they made an inquiry.

Vaughan was arrested after police tracked a stolen cell phone to the 800 block of N. Linwood Ave., and authorities in both states say Vaughan confessed to the three attacks. At a bail review, officials said Vaughan had attempted to commit suicide in his cell at Central Booking. He has since been indicted by a grand jury in Virginia on two rapes there, a representative from the Lancaster County Commonwealth Attorney's office said.

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