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Accused serial rapist connected to Wyoming sex crimes arrested

By Joel Funk

Laramie Boomerang

Via- Wyoming News Exchange

Mark Douglas Burns, 69, of Ogden, Utah, has been charged with eight counts of aggravated sexual assault, six counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated robbery in Utah. (Photo courtesy Davis County Sheriff’s Office)

LARAMIE — A suspected serial rapist believed to be implicated in a 1996 Laramie sex crime is in custody after an arrest Wednesday by Utah law enforcement.

Mark Douglas Burns, 69, of Ogden, Utah, has been charged with eight counts of aggravated sexual assault, six counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated robbery in Utah, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune. The Laramie Police Department sent out a news release Thursday indicating a suspect had been arrested for a series of sexual assaults in Wyoming and Utah between 1991 and 2001, the same time period and nature of crimes Utah media are reporting regarding Burns’ arrest. The LPD, however, is statutorily prohibited from disclosing the names of defendants in certain sexual crime cases before charges are bound over in Albany County district court.

Charges are expected to be filed against the suspected serial rapist in Albany County at a later date. Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent also told the Boomerang Thursday her office could not comment on the pending investigation and prosecution.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the Laramie Police Department, came together in May 2015 to collaborate on a cold case investigation into a series of sexual assaults in Wyoming and Utah. DNA from the cases entered into the Combine DNA Index System (CODIS) linked the same offender to the crimes.

The suspects’ crimes were often carried out in the same fashion, the Salt Lake Tribune reported, by breaking into homes, blindfolding victims and committing brutal, repeated assaults. Female victims aged from 11 to 52.

Smith said she could not provide any additional information about the 1996 Laramie rape case by press time Thursday.

Law enforcement is investigating whether Burns’ alleged crimes are limited to the 10-year time frame he is now suspected of being connected to. Detectives in Utah “do not believe Mr. Burns suddenly stopped committing such heinous crimes since 2001,” according to a news release from the Clearfield Police Department reported in the Salt Lake Tribune. Investigators noted Burns was a truck driver who traveling throughout Western states for work.

While the LPD is not aware of any other crimes in Albany County that could potentially be linked to the suspect, Smith said it’s hard to say whether the offender was limited to one incident.

“It was a long period of time that the agencies between Wyoming and Utah know this suspect was active,” Smith said. “So although we have no specific information that other crimes similar or otherwise have been committed by the same suspect in Laramie or Wyoming, it certainly is a possibility we just have not had any victims report anything else.”

The DNA evidence links the same offender to cases in Rock Springs in 1991, in Riverdale City, Utah, in 1992, Ogden, Utah, in 1993, Clearfield City, Utah, in 1994 and 1995, in Laramie in 1996, in Layton, Utah, in 1997 and in Clearfield, Utah, in 2000 and 2001.

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