After a string of assaults on Boston’s historic Esplanade went unsolved for almost a decade, police finally identified a suspect on Tuesday: an Uber driver.
Alejandro Done, 46, is already facing charges for the kidnapping, rape, and assault and battery of one of his customers. Now police are linking him to a series of assaults along the Charles River that occurred from 2006 to 2009.
“We’ve linked four [Esplanade assaults] by DNA and there are many others that we’re trying to rule out,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Connolly told reporters at a press conference on the Esplanade this afternoon.
In the past, police believed they had tied the string of assaults to one perpetrator. Victims had described the assailant as “as a clean-shaven black man in his mid-20s to mid-30s, standing 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall,” with a medium build, a shaved head, and a widow’s peak, according to WCVB.
The attacks spanned several years, but all of them took place in June and July.
The four incidents tied to the same individual included a woman assaulted near the Massachusetts Avenue footbridge, just after midnight on July 14, 2009, a woman who was robbed near the Hatch Shell at 3:30 a.m. on July 29, 2007, a woman assaulted on Massachusetts Ave bridge just after 11 p.m. on June 16, 2007, and a woman assaulted in Joe Moakley Park at 3 a.m. on July 29, 2006.
Then, last December, Done allegedly abducted one of his customers.
Prosecutors describe a harrowing scene, and a violent end to what would have been a typical night out with friends for the victim. The woman called an Uber, and allegedly got into Done’s car.
That’s when events took a turn for the worse. The first sign that something was off, according to prosecutors, was when the driver asked the customer for cash. The victim complied with the driver’s request, got out of the car, and went to the ATM.
But when she got back in the vehicle, the driver did not take her to her intended address. Instead, he took her to a secluded area, and allegedly jumped into the back seat.
“He allegedly struck her with his hands, strangled her, locked the car doors so that she could not escape and covered her mouth so she could not scream,” according to a statement from the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.
Done is charged with three counts of rape, two counts of assault and battery, and kidnapping.
Connolly added that his office is looking for a potential link to Done and other rapes. “More [rape charges] are likely to come,” he said.
He says officers found a link last night between Done’s DNA and the Esplanade attacks, and that "the warrants were lodged just a few minutes ago."
Connolly says he cannot release more information until Done is arraigned, but the additional charges include two more counts of aggravated rape and other counts of indecent touching.
“These were all very violent predatory assaults,” said Connolly. “Anyone who does this a half a dozen times is a very serious predator.”
Uber previously released a statement saying that Done was not authorized to pick the victim up, according to Boston.com. The company issued a “safe ride checklist,” asking customers to verify the name of their driver before getting in, shortly after the assault.
At the time of his arrest, authorities were uncertain if Done used information from the ride share service to carry out the alleged rape, according to Boston.com.
Done, who was born in the Dominican Republic but is now a U.S. citizen, has pleaded not guilty to his previous charges, according to The Boston Globe. His wife still lives in the Dominican Republic.
His cousin, Tamayo Manzanillo, testified for him at his bail hearing. “He’s innocent, and that we shouldn’t be ashamed of what’s going on because he hasn’t done anything,” Manzanillo told the court, according to The Boston Globe. Manzanillo said Done lost his day job at the bank BNY Mellon after his arrest.
Sources say it wasn’t until after he was in custody that police began to make a case connecting Done to the other assaults.
Done’s attorney, Timothy J. Bradley, did not immediately return a call for comment.