Durham Man Arrested for 2015 Sexual Assault on the Ellerbe Creek Trail
Durham police investigators have arrested Emanuel Dwayne Burch and charged him in connection with a November 2015 sexual assault on the Ellerbe Creek Trail.
Burch, 32, was charged with first-degree sexual assault and attempted first-degree murder in connection with this case.
A woman told officers she was walking home from work and entered the Ellerbe Creek Trail near West Trinity Avenue around 6 p.m. on November 11, 2015. She was walking on the trail near Dacian Avenue when a man approached her from behind, choked her into unconsciousness and pulled her into the woods, where he sexually assaulted her. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Investigators worked on the case for several years, but did not have any strong leads until last fall. Investigators sent the DNA profile obtained from the sexual assault evidence collection kit from this case in for testing. On September 9, 2019, investigators learned that the DNA profile matched a DNA profile in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, which was linked to Burch. In October, investigators obtained a search warrant and collected a DNA sample from Burch. This DNA sample was sent to the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory for comparison to the DNA profile obtained from the evidence collection kit from the Ellerbe Creek case.
On January 16, 2020, DPD investigators were told that the known DNA sample from Burch was a confirmed match to the DNA profile from the Ellerbe Creek case. True bills of indictment for Burch were issued on January 17 and he was arrested on January 22 in Chapel Hill. Burch has been placed in the Durham County Jail under a $500,000 bond.
DPD investigators are working with investigators from other agencies to determine if Burch may have been involved in other cases.
Fast Facts about DPD Cold Case Sexual Assault Investigations: