Investigators in Boston have used DNA analysis to identify and charge a suspect in the sexual assaults of four women whose cases have gone unsolved for over a decade, according to prosecutors.
Investigators identified Matthew Nilo, who now lives in New Jersey, as the suspect after revisiting the cases last year, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office announced Monday.
The 35-year-old was arraigned Monday on three counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping, one count of assault with intent to rape and one count of indecent assault and battery, according to the district attorney’s office. He pleaded not guilty, his lawyer said.
“Mr. Nilo maintains his innocence,” Nilo’s attorney Joseph Cataldo said in a statement. “He was shocked and we intend to contest the matters.”
The four attacks were reported between August 2007 and December 2008 and occurred in the area of Terminal Street in the Charlestown neighborhood, according to prosecutors. The victims were between 23 and 44 years old at the time.
After their cases laid cold for years, Boston police revisited the investigation in 2022, the district attorney’s office said in the release.
“They employed forensic investigative genetic genealogy, in which investigators search publicly accessible DNA databases, populated only by data which users have chosen to make available, to narrow the pool of potential suspects,” the release explained.
After identifying Nilo as a person of interest, investigators began surveilling him early this year while he lived in New Jersey and worked in New York City, prosecutors said.
FBI agents were able to obtain utensils and drinking glasses Nilo used at a corporate event, prosecutors said.
The Boston Police Crime Lab then pulled a DNA profile from one of the glasses, which matched the suspect profile in the three rape cases, prosecutors said.
Investigators also analyzed DNA found on a glove of the victim in the December 2008 assault case, according to the release. She had poked her attacker’s eyes during the incident, prosecutors said, but no forensic link was made at the time.
“Further testing determined that this profile was 314 times more likely to belong to Matthew Nilo than to any other male in the population,” Assistant District Attorney Lynn Feigenbaum said in court Monday.
Nilo’s attorney suggested he may challenge the legality of the FBI’s evidence collection.
“If the government obtained DNA evidence from my client without a search warrant, then the constitutionality of that action will certainly and most vigorously be challenged in court,” Cataldo said.
Nilo was arrested last week, Boston police announced. He is being held on a $500,000 bond. If released on bail, Nilo must wear a GPS tracker, surrender his passport, have no contact with the victims and stay away from the area of the alleged assaults unless accompanied by his attorney, the district attorney’s office said.
His bail review hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Cowbell, an insurance company where Nilo works, said in a statement Monday that Nilo “has been suspended pending further investigation.” Nilo was hired in January 2023, after passing a background check, the company said.
CNN’s Aaron Eggleston contributed to this report.
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com