CLEVELAND — Investigators have arrested a Lorain man in connection with a February abduction attempt in Elyria and a related kidnapping three months later in Cleveland.
In a news conference this morning, officials from Cleveland and Elyria police and the Cleveland FBI office identified Justin A. Christian of Lorain as a suspect. He was arrested without interest at his home.
“We took a predator off the streets,” said Elyria police Chief Duane Whitely.
FBI Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said nobody else has been charged, and the case remains under investigation.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Christian’s arrest was the first successful use of the state’s familial DNA search, where an unknown DNA sample is tested to find genetic near matches between relatives. DeWine likened it to using a partial license plate to find an auto.
A Furnace Street girl awoke Feb. 25 to find a man trying to abduct her. She got away and alerted her father, who called police and went outside to investigate. A review of security cameras indicated that a man had broken into the house the day before, potentially to open windows. The suspect was described as a white man in his 20s or 30s with brown eyes. He was wearing black clothes, including a black hooded sweatshirt with the drawstring pulled tight.
On May 21, a 6-year-old girl was taken from her home on West 104th Street in Cleveland, and returned safely about 17 hours later. Within a week, investigators announced there was a forensic link between the two crimes, which turned out to be DNA evidence left on the ladder used int the Elyria incident, said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty. A social media connection was made as well about three months later.
The case appeared on a segment in October of the syndicated television show “Crime Watch Daily.”