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Series of E.L. Sexual Assaults Solved

1-17-2008 Michigan:

East Lansing Police say DNA conclusively links a Michigan State University employee with a series of home invasions and sexual assaults that go back to 1998.

The break in the case came over MSU's winter break, when East Lansing police put the Bailey neighborhood under surveillance. That's when they spotted a man driving suspiciously around 6:45 in the morning. The detective wrote down the license plate number and later tracked down the driver, who told them he had been driving around trying to track mileage for a running route.

Lieutenant Kevin Daley told News 10 the man, 32-year-old Troy Robertson, fit a profile they had built of the sex offender, a white male in his late 20s or early 30s. The sex offender also struck in the early morning hours and often near certain holidays.

Police say the suspect's excuse of tracking a running route was suspicious, because he was making U-turns and doubling back on himself. They then requested a DNA sample, but he never showed up for the appointment. Later, they learned Robertson committed suicide at the Park N Ride at Barnes Road and US 127 on December 27.

East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said Robertson had a wife and young children, who were completely unaware of Robertson's crimes. The chief said the wife is "absolutely devastated," and said the children are the "victims of this whole thing."

Police are closing sixteen cases, five of them conclusively linked by DNA to Robertson. ..more.. by Adela Uchida

Police close 9-year sex offender investigation
1-16-2008 Michigan:

East Lansing police have brought closure to the investigation of the man responsible for 16 sexual assaults in the East Lansing area in the past nine years.

Police have identified 32-year-old Troy Robertson as the assailant in a string of sexual assaults dating back to 1998.

After tracking Robertson since Dec. 14, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department contacted East Lansing police to inform them Robertson had committed suicide on Dec. 27.

The Michigan State Police crime lab was able to match Robertson’s DNA with DNA collected from five sexual assault cases, East Lansing police Lt. Kevin Daley said.

Robertson was a Mason resident and an employee in the MSU Controller’s Office.

Daley said he is almost positive that Robertson also was the offender in the 11 other sexual assault cases because the suspect was wearing an orange ski mask in all 16 cases.

“There aren’t a lot of people running around with orange ski masks,” Daley said. “We have a strong belief that this is the same individual.”

An unidentified number of MSU students and employees were victims of the sexual assaults.

East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said police had conducted surveillance routines in the neighborhoods where the offender struck in the sexual assaults since the first report in 1998.

Wibert and Daley both said the suspect sexually assaulted women on Kedzie, Gunson, Ann, Elizabeth, Orchard, Charles and Center streets, among others.

Wibert said the offender would strike periodically throughout the year, with more offenses around holidays.

The assaults typically occurred in the early morning hours, around 5-7 a.m.

On Dec. 14, an East Lansing police detective was on routine undercover surveillance north of downtown East Lansing when he noticed Robertson driving suspiciously through the area.

The detective made contact with Robertson and recorded his license plate number.

When East Lansing police contacted Robertson to come into the station for an interview and DNA test, he did not show up, Wibert said.

“He piqued our curiosity when he didn’t come in,” Daley said.

Wibert said Robertson used a variety of methods to sexually assault the victims.

In the earlier years, he would peak into windows and jump in front of cars, exposing himself in front of the victims.

As the years progressed, he began entering houses with no clothing on and forcing himself upon the victim.

In more recent attacks, he entered unoccupied houses and used the victims’ cameras to take pictures of himself masturbating.

Wibert said there were no serious injuries reported from the incidents. Robertson’s family’s lawyer, Chris Bergstrom, issued a statement Tuesday on the matter.

“On behalf of the deceased’s immediate family, as well as his extended family, I have been asked to convey their condolences to all victims and their families who have been hurt by the actions of the deceased,” Bergstrom said in the statement.

Daley and Wibert said they are relieved to have cracked an investigation that has been pending for so long.

“I have laid awake at night thinking about this case because you never know when he is going to strike,” Wibert said.

“It’s a miracle that we caught him.” ..more.. by Nicquel Terry, The State News

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