Police in New York arrested a man accused of committing a series of sexual assaults in California dating to 2010 after they tracked him down using genetic genealogy, authorities announced Tuesday.
The police department and the FBI arrested Kabeh Cummings, 35, in New York City on Aug. 29 on 11 felony charges, including kidnapping, rape and sodomy, the Sacramento County, California, District Attorney's Office said in a news release.
If he is convicted, Cummings could face a maximum of over 180 years in prison, Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho told reporters Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear whether Cummings had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Cummings is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sacramento in February and March 2010 and a third woman in September 2013, authorities said at the news conference Tuesday.
The assaults followed a similar pattern, authorities said.
In the 2010 assaults, Cummings allegedly grabbed both women from behind, put them in headlocks and strangled them before he allegedly sexually assaulted them, Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said.
He then fled, and the victims reported the assaults to police, Lester said.
In the February 2010 assault, an unknown second person fled with the victim's purse, Lester said. And in the March 2010 assault, the victim was unconscious during the sexual assault, she added.
Cummings is also accused of a violent sexual assault of another woman in the Sacramento area in September 2013, said Sacramento County Assistant Sheriff LeeAnneDra Marchese, who said he allegedly grabbed the victim from behind just after 4:15 a.m., pointed a stun gun at her and threatened her life.
Rape kits were collected after the assaults, and DNA samples were entered into CODIS, a national database used to identify suspects in crimes, Lester said.
Investigators are also asking members of the public to come forward if they believe they have more information about additional victims.
The 2013 case went cold until November 2021, when a sheriff's detective who was investigating cold case sexual assaults requested additional testing of evidence, Marchese said. The additional testing led investigators to develop a full DNA profile by June 2022, which matched the 2013 and 2010 cases, Marchese said.
The DNA profile led investigators to identify Cummings — who was living in New York City but had lived in Sacramento at the time of the rapes — as the suspect, Marchese said.
Ho said investigators used genetic genealogy, but he declined to provide more details about the specific investigative techniques authorities used to identify Cummings as the suspect because the investigation continues.
The controversial technology combines genealogy research with DNA analysis to build family trees and determine relationships between people — including connections to potential suspects in crimes — and it has been used to identify several victims and suspects in high-profile cold cases in recent years, including the Gilgo Beach murders, the Golden State Killer and the high-profile slayings of the four Idaho student slayings.
Marchese said authorities cannot discuss why Cummings went to New York or whether he is accused of having committed sexual assaults in any other states because of the ongoing investigation.
Cummings had been employed by the city of Sacramento, Lester said; further details were not immediately available.
A spokesperson for the Sacramento County DA's Office declined to respond to additional follow-up questions about what evidence investigators used to identify Cummings.
The NYPD directed questions about it involvement to the Sacramento Police Department, which directed questions to the DA's office.
Cummings was extradited to Sacramento and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on Friday, online jail records show. He is being held on $3.5 million bail and will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Sacramento Superior Court, according to the online jail records and the DA.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. The hotline, run by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), can put you in contact with your local rape crisis center. You can also access RAINN’s online chat service at https://www.rainn.org/get-help. Confidential chats are available in English and in Spanish.