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Attorney General DeWine Statement on Arrest of Alleged Serial Rapist Following Familial DNA Testing


(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued the following statement on the arrest of an alleged serial rapist who was identified with the help of familial DNA testing: 

"When my office's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) began conducting familial DNA testing in Ohio in 2016, we reserved this scientific analysis for the most serious unsolved crimes and serial cases with a public safety component. The assaults targeting women in parks and bike trails in the areas of Portage, Stark, and Mahoning counties met all the criteria needed for me to authorize the use of this specialized DNA testing for this case.

"Our BCI scientists worked exceptionally hard to conduct this complex testing, which ultimately identified a potential relative of the unknown attacker in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). A team of local, state, and federal investigators then used that investigative lead to help pinpoint a suspect. Approximately 14 hours after the familial DNA testing results were released, authorities made an arrest. 

"I am truly grateful to all of the local and federal investigating agencies, as well as our BCI scientists, special agents, and criminal intelligence analysts, who dedicated themselves to this case. This is a strong example of our commitment to protecting Ohio's residents and holding sexual predators accountable. 
"My office will continue to assist authorities in this investigation."

Shawn Wendling, 37, of Hillsville, Pennsylvania, is currently incarcerated in the Portage County Jail. 

Authorities with the Portage County Sheriff's Office, Portage County Drug Task Force, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Poland Township Police Department, Stark County Park District, Portage County Park District, and Ohio Division of Wildlife investigated the case.


Media Contacts:

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840

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