DENVER (CBS4) – A DNA sample has helped lead police to their suspect in a brutal attack on a woman that happened 3 years ago.

In July 2008 a 32-year-old woman was attacked near 14th and Decatur in Denver. The attacker was a man, and he sexually assaulted her and also tried to choke her to death. The woman managed to escape and he attacker did also.

The trail in the case had gone cold until Manuel McGee, 31, was arrested on Oct. 28 in Lakewood on auto theft charges.

McGee was initially charged after that arrest with aggravated motor vehicle theft — a felony crime. Because it was a felony arrest it meant police were required to obtain a DNA sample.

“He had to give his DNA up at the time of that felony arrest, it went in to the database and Denver detectives received word that there was a DNA match,” Denver District Attorney’s spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said.

Kimbrough said her office credits the break in the case to a state law passed in 2009. Before “Katie’s Law” a person would only have to submit DNA after being convicted of a crime and sentenced to actual jail time.

McGee is now facing charges of attempted first degree murder, sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact, in addition to the charges from the Lakewood auto theft case.

Kimbrough said the victim in the 2008 attack has been notified of the arrest.

“I think it has come as quite a surprise,” she said. “She is working through that now with her family and her support system.”

“Katie’s Law” took effect in Colorado in September 2010. It’s named for Katie Sepich, who was raped and murdered when she was 22 in New Mexico in 2003. DNA evidence led to an arrest in that case.


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