Victim Sees New Sketch: ‘It’s Him’

WHEELING — The latest rendering of the man suspected in the rape and abduction of a North Wheeling girl drew an immediate reaction from the young victim.

“It’s him,” the now 12-year-old girl told her mother Wednesday upon viewing a drawing of the man investigators believe attacked her.

The new sketch was released after city police announced that DNA of the suspect in the Feb. 20 rape of the Wheeling girl matched that of the suspect in the August 2006 sexual assault of a 30-year-old woman in her Leitchfield, Ky., home. The new sketch was drawn based on statements made by the victim in the Kentucky assault.

On Thursday, the victim’s mother agreed that the rendering based on the Kentucky victim’s description differs greatly from the drawing based on her daughter’s information. The woman said she does not know the reason for the discrepancy, but she suspects it has something to do with what the attacker said to her daughter.

“He did say he would kill her if she looked at him,” the woman said. “She said (the first sketch) wasn’t too accurate, but they (FBI sketch artists) are the trained professionals. I don’t know how that goes. She was confused about what he looked like, but I knew if she saw a picture she would be able to tell.”

There are other possible explanations for the differences in the drawings. At a Wednesday news conference, FBI Assistant Special Agent Kevin Deegan noted the Kentucky assault took place during daylight hours. The North Wheeling girl was abducted and raped at night.

Wheeling police Chief Kevin Gessler noted at the news conference that the level of distress in the young victim may have been greater than that of the older victim. That, he said, could result in disparities between the drawings.