Andrew Burke, the 21-year-old suspect in Friday’s sexual assault on the Riverwalk remains on the loose, and this afternoon, after explaining why they had not, thus far, released Burke’s photograph, prosecutors decided that they would finally release it.
Pictured below is Mr. Burke, who is wanted for arrest on two warrants. One warrant charges attempted murder, assault with intent to rape, kidnapping, and indecent assault and battery in connection with the assault of a 26-year-old woman on the Riverwalk on Friday.
The second warrant, issued in response to the new charges, is for a probation violation, since the new offenses allegedly occurred while Burke was on probation for open and gross lewdness and accosting/annoying a person of the opposite sex.
I also confirmed this afternoon that that case is a Lowell case, that was merely transferred to Ayer District Court.
Earlier today Jessica Pastore, from the DA’s office, explained the concern prosecutors had about releasing this photo.
“It is because it is an ID case and the victim’s identification of the (defendant) is central to our proving the case. It’s release could compromise the prosecution, as (defense counsel) could say the victim only ID’d the (defendant) because she saw the photo in the press.”
But this afternoon she also explained the other side of the story, which is the need to locate Burke. It’s a tough balancing act for prosecutors, that much is for certain.
“Due to the fact that the suspect has not been located, the decision was made to release a picture and hope that someone may have seen the suspect,” Pastore said.
Investigators in Lowell also asked that people treat the photo as nothing more than what it is, a photo of a suspect in a crime. The photo, the charges, and even the warrants obtained for Burke are not proof of guilt.
But please help authorities find Mr. Burke so that the question of his guilt can be taken up in a Lowell court.
Anyone with information is asked to call Lowell police at 978-937-3200 or Crimestoppers at 978-459-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent to police via Text-a-Tip, by texting TIP411 (847411) with the subject “LPDTIP.”
Tipsters can remain anonymous, but can receive up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.