A New Jersey lawyer was arrested this week in connection with a series of decade-old rapes in Boston after forensic genealogy linked him to the crime spree.
Matthew J. Nilo, 35, was arrested at his home in Weehawken around 4:30 pm Tuesday, the Boston Globe reported.
He has been charged with 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 in connection with the attacks on four women in the Terminal Street area between August 2007 and December 2008, the outlet said.
“This is without a doubt a major break in this investigation that has haunted the survivors of these sexual assaults, the residents of Charlestown, and the Boston Police Department for years,” FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta said at a press conference Tuesday.
“We believe we have removed a dangerous threat from our community.”
Authorities said Nilo, who used to live in Boston’s North End, was identified as a suspect last month through investigative genetic genealogy, which combines DNA technology with historical record searches to generate new suspects in cold cases.
The new lead in the Terminal Street cases was also aided by the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, a federal grant program that helps process sexual assault collection kits, Police Commissioner Michael Cox explained.
“This arrest also highlights the fact that investigators never stop analyzing evidence, collecting information, and running down leads in order to bring dangerous offenders to justice,” Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said.
Authorities added that the four victims — who have not been named publicly — have been informed of Nilo’s arrest and pending extradition to Boston.
“We certainly realize that identifying this individual does not ease their pain, nothing can, but hopefully it answers some questions,” Bonavolonta stated.
At the time of his arrest, Nilo was a cyber claims lawyer with the Cowbell insurance firm, according to his LinkedIn.
He was hired by the company in January after completing a background check, WCBV reported.
His employment was suspended pending the ongoing investigation.
Nilo graduated from the prestigious Boston Latin School in 2006, the outlet said.
He went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison before graduating from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2015.
At the time of the Terminal Street assaults, he was around 19 to 20 years old.
On Tuesday, authorities urged anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Nilo over the years to come forward to the police or the FBI.