Suspect in San Diego and Riverside County Rape Series Pleads Guilty

An Arizona man who carried out a series of knifepoint rapes in the city of San Diego 24 years ago will be sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison early next year following his guilty plea to six rape counts.

Christopher VanBuskirk, 47, of Goodyear, pleaded guilty Monday to threatening the victims with a knife while sexually assaulting them on four occasions between August and November of 1995, according to San Diego police.

Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle said Vanbuskirk also pleaded guilty to two knifepoint rapes committed in Riverside County in March 2002 and November 2004, with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office giving San Diego County prosecutors jurisdiction over those two cases.

Vanbuskirk is slated to be sentenced Feb. 20.

Prosecutors said the four San Diego cases occurred twice in the Tierrasanta neighborhood, once in Pacific Beach, and once near San Diego Mesa College. He was identified as a suspect through public-access genealogical databases, which Doyle said was similar to the technology utilized to identify and capture Joseph James DeAngelo, otherwise known as the Golden State Killer.

Police said DNA evidence previously linked the San Diego and Riverside county cases, but the identity of the perpetrator was not established until this year.

Vanbuskirk was arrested in his home state in May.

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