Violent sex attacks solved after a decade by determined cops in Mississauga and York: Police

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Published July 31, 2023 at 1:59 pm

A man imprisoned earlier this year for decade-old violent sexual assaults in Mississauga and Richmond Hill was finally brought to justice by dogged detectives and collaborative work between multiple police forces, York Regional Police say in their recently released annual report.

“This is what it looks like when a multi-jurisdictional investigation is done right,” York police Insp. Simon James said in the 2022 York Regional Police Annual Report, adding the collaboration between his force and Peel Regional Police, specifically Staff Sgt. Mustafa Durgun, was “an undeniable success.”

James was referring to the painstakingly lengthy investigations of a 2013 sexual assault in Mississauga and 2014 attack of a similar nature in Richmond Hill that eventually became intertwined in an effort to find the person responsible.

He added the two detectives “spent thousands of hours working together” to try bring to justice the violent attacker they believed was responsible for both assaults.

“We never lost faith that we would find our suspect,” said James.

Enter Toronto Police in December 2021, when cops there were investigating a human trafficking ring that led to the collection of a suspect’s DNA and the eventual arrest in early 2022 of Jaehyun “David” Cho, now 33, of Toronto.

In January of this year, Cho was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to various charges stemming from the pair of violent sex assaults in Mississauga and Richmond Hill.

Cho pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon and sexual assault causing bodily harm, as well as to a disguise with intent charge.

He initially faced 13 counts of multiple charges, including two counts of kidnapping, according to police.

Police continue to investigate and haven’t ruled out the possibility of additional victims.

Jaehyun “David” Cho, 33, of Toronto.

James noted that the extensive investigation conducted by police in York and Peel in the years following the 2013 and 2014 attacks involved the execution of 13 warrants and collected more than 150 DNA samples for analysis.

Furthermore, he said, officers canvassed more than 600 businesses and homes, conducted 1,000 interviews and eliminated, “one by one,” 154 potential suspects.

The Mississauga assault took place on Sept. 26, 2013, at about midnight. Police say that after leaving work and taking public transit to her stop in the area of Crestview Ave. and Hurontario St., a 47-year-old woman was “blitz attacked” by a masked man as she walked home on South Service Rd.

The man pulled her into a treed area behind a townhouse complex and sexually assaulted her, police said.

On Nov. 13, 2014 just after midnight, a 17-year-old girl left a York Region Transit bus on Yonge St. in Richmond Hill and began walking westbound on Canyon Hill Ave., police say.

As she passed a dark, grassy field on the south side of the street, she was attacked from behind and pulled over a wire fence into the tall grass. There, her masked attacker brandished a knife and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the area, police say.

After connecting the two cases a short time later, York and Peel cops struck a task force called Project Blue Light that worked leads for years to come.

The Centre for Forensic Sciences did connect the two assaults via DNA collected at both crime scenes, but investigators were unable to identify a suspect at the time.

It was only when the 2021 Toronto Police case came along that investigators got the break they needed in identifying a suspect.

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