For nearly three decades, a series of rapes and murders occurred around Western New York by a nameless, faceless man dubbed “The Bike Path Rapist” by local media. Authorities had his DNA and knew his tendency to use a ligature, but could never capture the elusive criminal. His first known attacks were in the mid-1980s, continuing regularly through 1994. After a twelve-year gap, in September 2006, he returned by strangling and killing a 45-year-old mother along a rural bike path.
While investigating the case, Buffalo Homicide Detective and task force member Dennis Delano reviewed unsolved rape cases from the past thirty years. He concluded that the Bike Path Rapist's span of attacks stretched back even further, into the 1970s. Delano learned that a different man, Anthony Capozzi, had been convicted of two rapes in 1985 and was still imprisoned 22 years later. Members of the task force interviewed Capozzi, who is schizophrenic. Delano and his colleagues believed the wrong man was in jail, but had no hard evidence to secure a release. After working tirelessly on behalf of a convicted man, DNA slides were discovered at a local medical center. Capozzi was exonerated and released before Easter 2007.
Bike Path Rapist: A Cop's Firsthand Account of Catching the Killer Who Terrorized a Community will examine the complex and compelling story inside the investigation of a thirty-year string of serial rapes and killings. With detailed information culled from interviews, police reports and insights from Delano and his colleagues on an elite task force that solved the crime, the book will blend the drama of Cold Case and CSI with a behind-the-scenes look at investigative techniques and angles examined by investigators.
Jeff Schober is an author and teacher who has written extensively for the Buffalo News and other publications.
Det. Dennis Delano, a longtime homicide detective in Buffalo, New York, received local and national attention for his role in solving this case.