Thursday, November 02, 2000

Suspect cleared as serial rapist

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — A Butler County man charged with breaking into homes and molesting young girls is not the serial rapist who has terrorized the Tristate, police said Wednesday.

        Michael Lagow, who lives in the township, was cleared as a suspect in the rapes in Hamilton and Warren counties, said Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen.

        DNA testing of Mr. Lagow, 35, did not match DNA samples gathered earlier at rape scenes in Mason, Montgomery and Colerain Township.

        “The search will continue. We have had 500 leads and have pursued 300 so far,” Mr. Allen said of the serial rapist investigation. “It's not a matter of if but when we will catch him,” Mr. Allen said.

        Mr. Lagow's attorney, Michael Shanks, said his client was “pretty confident all along that he would be cleared.”

        Though he is no longer a serial rape suspect, Mr. Lagow was indicted by a Butler County grand jury Wednesday in connection with the burglaries in his Millcreek Circle neighborhood and the molestation of an 8-year-old girl while she slept.

        Mr. Lagow was indicted on one count of gross sexual imposition, three counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary.

        Initially he was also charged with entering the bedrooms of two other girls while they slept.

        He remains in custody on $70,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned today before Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Spaeth.

        A multiagency task force investigating the serial rapes began looking at Mr. Lagow as a possible suspect in those cases after his arrest at his home Oct. 25.

        Using a search warrant, police took a saliva sample from Mr. Lagow to compare with DNA from an unidentified red-haired, blue-eyed man who since 1998 has raped four girls, ages 6 to 14, and a 27-year-old woman, after entering their homes through unlocked doors and windows.


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