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Bike Path Rapist Is Arrested

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The serial rapist and murderer -- who has managed to elude local law enforcement for more than 20 years -- was taken into custody Monday morning.

At joint news conference in downtown Buffalo, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard announced the arrested of 48-year-old Altemio Sanchez.

"All of Erie County can rest a little easier today because the monster known as the Bike Path Rapist has been taken into custody," Howard said.

Sheriff Howard says Sanchez lives with his wife on Allendale Drive in Cheektowaga.

Sanchez was taken into custody Monday morning after he was picked up at a traffic stop in the city of Buffalo. The Sheriff's Department, along with the Amherst and Buffalo Police Departments and State Police, all made the announcement.

Authorities say the break in the investigation occurred ten days ago with three separate events. Three different units within the investigation team all identified Sanchez as the likely suspect. Since that time, the suspect remained under surveillance. It was learned Monday that the first case Sanchez was involved in occurred in 1981.

Erie County District attorney Frank Clark says DNA of Sanchez is a 100 percent match to the bike path rapist.

"The start was in 1981. Old fashioned police work brought everything together. DNA evidence sealed the deal," Clark said. "It's a real testimony to the men and women who worked so hard on this case. It proves nothing is impossible."

Clark says the first case Sanchez is expected to be charged with is the murder and rape of UB student Linda Yalem, killed along the Amherst bike path in 1991.

He is also the prime suspect in the September murder of Joan Diver of Clarence, who was found dead along a bike path near her home.

Sanchez has been arrested twice before for patronizing a prostitute in Buffalo in both 1991 and 1999.

There is no word on when Sanchez will be arraigned.