Altemio C. Sanchez, the confessed Bike Path Killer, raped at least eight area women -- and possibly as many as a half-dozen more -- between 1981 and 1994, Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark announced Tuesday.
Analyses by the Central Police Services laboratory this spring and summer confirmed through DNA evidence that Sanchez committed those rapes, Clark said. The lab analyzed 15 slides that were provided to the Bike Path Rapist Task Force by Erie County Medical Center.
"We put together probably a list 22 or 23 cases long, and we went with that list of cases to ECMC and said, 'Here's the list of women we think were attacked by Altemio Sanchez. Do you have the slides?' " Clark said.
Of that list, the hospital found 15 slides labeled with the identities of the victims provided by the task force. Eight were confirmed to Sanchez by DNA. Three others may be linked to Sanchez, pending further lab work, Clark said.
There also were four "blank slides" that contained DNA of the victim but little or none from the attacker, he said.
Clark said "two or three" more cases "over and above the 15" exist that still could be investigated further.
Sanchez, 49, of Cheektowaga, will not face trial in any of them, however.
"They're all time-barred [by the statute of limitations], so there's no way we could prosecute them," Clark said. "But I feel we have some moral obligation to bring closure to the victims."
Two of those eight confirmed rapes were previously attributed to Anthony J. Capozzi of Buffalo, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 22 years. Capozzi was exonerated after DNA linked the rapes to Sanchez. He was released from prison April 3 based on long-overlooked DNA evidence.
The district attorney said task force members assembled the list by identifying similarities in rape reports from the time frame 1981 to 1994 and the physical description of the victim, as well as the location and manner of the attack.
Geographically, six of the 15 rapes analyzed by the lab occurred in Delaware Park.
There were three each in Riverside and along the Amherst Bike Path, two in Hamburg and one on Exchange Street in Buffalo, Clark said.
The task force stuck to the 13-year time frame because Clark says there is no evidence to link Sanchez to any attacks before 1981 or after 1994. That is, until Clarence mother Joan Diver was murdered on a bike path last September.
"We have absolutely, positively no proof here or anyplace else that he committed any crimes between 1994 and 2006," Clark said. "I have no . . . explanation for it. I'm as baffled as everyone else."
Diver's murder broke the case of the Bike Path Killer wide open, leading to Sanchez's arrest in January as "the alleged Bike Path Rapist."
On May 16, Sanchez admitted in State Supreme Court to killing Diver as well as Linda Yalem in 1990 and Majane Mazur in 1992.
He faces life in prison when he is sentenced in August on the three counts of murder.