Fairmount Park Rapist: What's Known in Long-Unsolved Case

With Philadelphia police providing an update on the case Thursday afternoon, here is what’s known about the man dubbed the Fairmount Park rapist, who first struck 18 years ago.

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Police in Philadelphia provided more information about the serial rape and homicide suspect who struck fear in the city nearly two decades ago and has yet to be caught.

The case dates back to three attacks in 2003 and a separate one in 2007. Police said DNA evidence pointed to the same man being responsible, but despite investigative efforts that have included money for information, he has remained out of the grasp of authorities.

Philadelphia Special Victims Unit detectives on Thursday gave an updated illustration of what the rapist is believed to look like. Meanwhile, here's what we have learned over the years about the investigation, the victims and the man detectives are searching for.

Who is the Fairmount Park rapist?

The moniker was assigned to a man linked by DNA evidence to three attacks in Fairmount Park and one in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia.

He is suspected of three rapes – including one that resulted in the strangulation of a 30-year-old medical student – and a fourth attack at knifepoint in which his victim managed to escape.

Updated composites of the Fairmount Park rapist, released by Philadelphia police Aug. 26, 2021.

When and where did the Fairmount Park rapist attack his victims?

The first attack dates back to April 30, 2003, when a 21-year-old woman jogging on Kelly Drive and Fountain Green Drive – an area adjacent to the Schuylkill River – was raped at knifepoint.

Then, on July 13 of the same year, 30-year-old medical student Rebecca Park was raped and strangled as she jogged along the 3500 block of Conshohocken Avenue, in the western side of the park. Her body was discovered four days later.

On Oct. 25, 2003, a 37-year-old woman was attacked at knifepoint as she jogged on West River Drive – since renamed to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive – near the Falls Bridge. She managed to escape and was driven by a passerby to a hospital in Lower Merion.

The three attacks happened within a one-mile radius of one another.

Police said the man struck again on Aug. 11, 2007, raping a woman in a park near Frankford and Solly avenues in the Holmesburg neighborhood.

What does the Fairmount Park rapist look like?

He is described as a man with a medium build standing 5-foot-8 with scars on his chest, shoulder and arm, possibly from burns or stab wounds, a dark complexion, black hair, thin mustache and bushy eyebrows. Police also said he spoke broken English.

Composite sketches of the Fairmount Park rapist. Left: a sketch of a man with short black hair, a moustache and wearing a blue collared shirt. Right: A black and white sketch of a man with short hair and a goatee.
Philadelphia Police
An older sketch of the suspect.

During two of the attacks, the suspect wore an earring on his left ear and fled on a purple, metallic 10-speed bike, police said. During the attack in 2007, he wore a mesh sleeveless basketball shirt and shorts that were light blue with white stripes on the shorts and white edging on the shirt.

He also wore a gold chain with a crucifix pendant.

"We believe, as many serial offenders do, that this male may strike again, not a matter of if, but when and where. We want to make sure the public is armed with the proper tools to prevent that from happening,” Philadelphia Special Victims Unit Captain John Darby said in 2013, 10 years after the rapist's first attack.

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