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DNA Analysis Leads Norwalk Police To Make Arrest In 1988 Sex Assault Case

Osvaldo Muniz, 66, of Bridgeport was charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree aggravated sexual assault in connection with an incident that occurred in Norwalk in 1988.
Osvaldo Muniz, 66, of Bridgeport was charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree aggravated sexual assault in connection with an incident that occurred in Norwalk in 1988. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Norwalk Police Department

NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk police arrested a Bridgeport man Friday in connection with a kidnapping and sexual assault cold case from 1988, according to police.

Osvaldo Muniz, 66, was charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree aggravated sexual assault, both felonies. He was held on $500,000 bond and will appear in court Dec. 16.

The arrest stems from an incident on Aug. 4, 1988. According to police, a 19-year-old woman who was staying with friends at a home on Wolfpit Avenue reported being awoken by footsteps at 4:50 a.m. She went to see whether her friend had arrived home when she was grabbed from behind, and someone put a hand over her mouth and a large knife to her neck, police said. She was dragged out of the house, across the front lawn and across a second lawn, where she was sexually assaulted, police said.

The case was investigated and a composite sketch released to the public. Several leads were followed, but a suspect was never identified and the case went cold, police said.

In 2011, Lt. Art Weisgerber reviewed the case while organizing major unsolved crimes. Police determined that some of the evidence might be suitable for DNA analysis that was not available in 1988. With the assistance of the Biology and DNA Sections at the Connecticut Forensic Laboratory in Meriden, evidence collected in 1988 was examined in August 2013 and analyzed for DNA.

The lab developed an offender DNA profile from the evidence and submitted it to the Connecticut Offender DNA Database. On Oct. 5, police received a hit on the DNA, identifying the offender as Muniz, according to police reports.

On Nov. 4, Weisgerber and Sgt. Alex Tolnay received a search-and-seizure warrant to collect a confirmatory sample of DNA from Muniz so the lab could complete the analysis and issue a report. On Dec. 4, the state laboratory issued a report confirming Muniz as the offender, according to police. A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he was taken into custody at his place of employment in Bridgeport on Friday.

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