Suspect in cold case rape of Pacific Beach woman gets bail set at $5M
Published - 05/14/19 - 08:00 AM | 2806 views | 2 2 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bail of $5 million remains set on May 13 for an Arizona man suspected of raping a woman in Pacific Beach and three others in 1995 in a cold case rape series that was solved because of DNA evidence.

Christopher VanBuskirk, 46, appeared before San Diego Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis, who set the preliminary hearing for Sept. 9.

VanBuskirk pleaded not guilty May 7. Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle said if he’s convicted, he faces 190 years to life in prison.

A warrant was issued April 29 for VanBuskirk’s arrest where he lived and worked in Maricopa County, Ariz., as the manager of a burger restaurant. VanBuskirk was extradited here May 6.

Doyle said DNA evidence was collected in 1995 at the site of the rapes and preserved. A match was found a few months ago, he said.

“It’s a great technological innovation,” said Doyle.

A Pacific Beach woman returned home to her residence in the 1900 block of Missouri Street on Nov. 17, 1995, at 11 p.m. and discovered a masked man inside, according to court records.

She was sexually assaulted and afterwards reported the rape to police. She and the other three women submitted themselves to a rape exam, and DNA evidence was taken that allowed for a DNA profile of the attacker.

The first victim was attacked in the 11100 block of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard while she was out jogging at 9 p.m. and was sexually assaulted in some bushes, according to court records.

Two women were attacked in Tierrasanta and near Mesa College Drive. The Pacific Beach rape was the last in San Diego series.

Additionally, VanBuskirk has also been charged with two rapes in Riverside in 2002 and 2004, Doyle said, based on his DNA profile.

VanBuskirk denied the charges against him which were four counts of rape, two counts of forcible oral copulation, and two counts of digital penetration.

Doyle said VanBuskirk lived in San Diego and Riverside at the time of the rapes.

“We feel confident in going forward or we would not have filed charges,” said Doyle.

The San Diego Police Department worked with an FBI genealogy team and a match was made using a public access genealogical database.

“They put this case together and they did a fine job,” said Doyle.

VanBuskirk’s attorney did not argue against the $5 million bail figure set by San Diego Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan on May 7.

He remains in the central jail.
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