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Sheriff's Department: DNA evidence connects man to sexual assaults on Kenosha County Bike Trail

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KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department says DNA evidence has connected a suspect with two sexual assaults that happened on the Kenosha County Bike Trail. 

The first sexual assault was reported on March 25th with the second happening on May 21.

During the attack in May, the woman fought back and used pepper spray.  It was evidence collected after that attack that eventually led to a suspect.

"When he came out of the brush or wherever and came toward her, she fought back and that’s actually what helped to solve this crime, that was the incident that we got the DNA from," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Ruth.

On June 4, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department received a report on the test results from the crime lab that said they had a DNA match to one of the items submitted. 

The report linked DNA evidence at the scene to a suspect, 32-year-old Reginaldo Etienne.

"I don’t think he’s being extremely cooperative at this point, as far as giving up the ghost on this one, we’re still working to see what more we can find out," said Ruth.

Officials say Etienne was in custody at an Illinois jail on a probation hold. He is currently on probation in Illinois for armed robbery and is known to be homeless. 

Right now, Etienne is in custody at the Kenosha County Jail and officials say he will officially be charged on Friday, June 15. He is being held on suspicion of two counts of second-degree sexual assault with the use of force, one count of aggravated battery to the elderly, one count of battery, and one count of theft. Officials say more charges could be added.

Even with Etienne behind bars, authorities remind people to be careful when walking on trails or other places in the community.

"If you’re going to be in an area like that by yourself, at least carry something to help protect yourself, walk your dog, carry pepper spray, make sure people know where you are," said Ruth.

The Sheriff says they stepped up patrols near the bike path after the assaults.


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