DUBLIN (CBS SF) — A Livermore man had been arrested after DNA obtained from a discarded plastic spoon linked him to two 1997 cold case rapes including the sexual assault of a woman as she was walking to a BART station, prosecutors announced Monday.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Gregory Paul Vien was being held in Santa Rita Jail on multiple felony sexual assault charges.
In a news release, O’Malley said Vien has been implicated by DNA testing in the May 6, 1997, attack of a woman as she walked to BART after work. She was dragged to a secluded area where she was sexually assaulted. Union City Police detectives were able to obtain a sample of the suspect’s DNA from the victim’s clothing.
On September 7, 1997, Vien allegedly attacked a second victim while she was on a walk near Livermore High School. She was sexually assaulted and the Livermore Police Department was able to collect a DNA sample from the crime scene.
The DNA samples from both crime scenes were analyzed in a timely manner, and found to be a match to each other, meaning that law enforcement knew that the same person was responsible for both assaults.
The samples were uploaded to CODIS, the national DNA data base. However, no “hit” was made at the time to determine the identity of the assailant.
In 2019, Livermore police detectives developed additional leads through a genetic genealogical search in their quest to solve the 22-year old sexual assault crimes.
Those leads enabled investigators to focus on Vien. Detectives followed Vien and were able to obtain a plastic spoon he had used with his DNA on it. The sample identified him as the assailant in both crimes.
“Every victim deserves justice, and in this case, it’s really rewarding because it’s so old,” said Livermore Police Sgt. Steve Goard. “He was around Livermore during that time and had connections to all the locations.”
“For over 20 years, the survivors of these sexual assaults have lived with the constant uncertainty that comes with not knowing when, if ever, their assailant will be identified and brought to justice,” O’Malley said in a news release. “The police agencies never gave up, nor let these investigations go cold. Their dedication, tenacity and excellent investigative work, has now paid off in the arrest of Mr. Vien.”
Investigators said there were three additional unsolved brutal sexual assaults that occurred in Livermore between 1995-1997. Those unsolved cases have similar characteristics to those perpetrated by Vien. At this point, police believe Vien may be a suspect in those cases.
Vien was arrested at his Livermore home — the same one he’s lived in since the assaults more than 20 years ago.
“You think you know the people in your neighborhood, it’s a beautiful neighborhood as you can see, but just shocking,” said Vien’s next-door neighbor Steven Martinez. “I’m just heartbroke over it actually, and I feel bad for his family.”
Martinez has lived next door to Vien and his family for 20 years, and says Vien is married with at least two daughters in their 20s and a granddaughter.
“Very proud grandpa,” said Martinez. “Walking around the neighborhood like grandpas do, and I thought nothing of it, then within two weeks, this breaks. Shocking.”
Vien is scheduled to enter a plea during a scheduled court appearance on Wednesday. He is currently being held without bail.
Anyone who believes he or she has additional information was asked to contact Sgt. Steve Goard of the Livermore Police Department at 925.580.9585 or at firstname.lastname@example.org