Calgary police lay charges in cold case sex assaults from 1981

A man has been charged in the sexual assaults of two young women in Calgary almost 40 years ago — thanks to advances in DNA science.

In the early hours of June 16, 1981, a young nursing student was returning to her residence at the Foothills Medical Centre when she was attacked and sexually assaulted by a stranger.

A couple of weeks later, on July 1, a young lab technician was returning to her vehicle early in the morning after leaving a building on the Foothills campus when she was also attacked and sexually assaulted.

“These offences were investigated extensively in 1981 by detectives in the sex crimes unit with no offender identified in relation to the attacks,” Calgary police Staff Sgt. Michelle Doyle said in a release Tuesday.

But big advances in DNA science in the intervening decades helped police find a suspect.

On Feb. 11, Patrick Zamora, 64, of Calgary, was charged in the two attacks.

He was charged with “rape and choking” (as described in the 1981 Criminal Code of Canada) for the first incident and with “rape” for the second attack.

“These cases highlight that dedicated investigative work coupled with technological advances can result in new information, leading to charges. Even after 40 years, we will not stop investigating cold cases,” said Doyle.

Zamora is set to appear in court on April 1.

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