Head-spinning 2005 case of woman left for dead connected to three other assault cases

In 2005, Inna Budnytska was found brutally beaten and raped, in a vacant lot with no memory of the attack. Her case led investigators on a years-long journey to bring a serial rapist to justice.

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20 thoughts on “Head-spinning 2005 case of woman left for dead connected to three other assault cases

  1. The narrative here is condensed. A few years ago I watched a 20/20 documentary on YT, and it detailed how Mr Brennan found out Jones' identity and managed to track him down. (Unfortunately the video appears to have been taken down, so I can't post a link). Anyway, Ken reviewed all of the hotel CCTV footage to see if he could learn more about the movements of this big 6'4" 350lb African American guy. He eventually finds a sequence of him walking and talking to a friend who has the text 'Mercury' on the front of his T-shirt and 'Verado' on the back. So he Googles 'Mercury Verado' and learns that it's a new state of the art outboard motor, and figures that the two guys were possibly part of a nearby Miami boat show. Turns out that Mercury was a major exhibitor at the show. But then Ken learns that no Mercury employees were staying at the Regency hotel, a setback. But then he discovers that the only T-shirts given out were to people working at the food court there, and that the caterer was a company named Centerplate.

    A couple of weeks pass, and then he gets a call from a man who informs him that a man fitting the description was working for Centerplate when they were running a stall in Louisiana. He starts investigating the bigger food concession venues around New Orleans. The local police make enquiries and discover that the mystery man was working at the Superdome there around the time of hurricane Katrina. And they get his name: Michael Lee Jones. Centerplate confirm that a guy by that name did work for them at that time, but no longer. So, guessing that Jones is probably still doing the same kind of work, Ken gets a list of Centerplate's biggest competitors and eventually finds that there's a guy named Mike Jones working for a company 'Ovations' that's based in Tampa. He has to get a subpoena to look into their HR records and learn that Mike Jones is currently working at a concession in Frederick MD, and also the address where he's staying there. So he pays Jones a visit and that's where the above documentary picks up the story again.

    Surprisingly, Jones willingly agrees to a DNA swab and of course it matches that in Inna's rape kit. Ken notices from the original CCTV that Jones carries the suitcase out of the hotel so confidently and figures that he's probably not a first-timer. So he also puts in a lot of time finding other DNA matches in CODIS, and turns out that it solves two other cold case rapes, increasing Jones' prison time. The rest of the story is pretty well covered in the documentary, and it feels like I'm writing a novel, so I'll leave it there. 🙂

  2. The brutality is just unspeakable. This poor woman. I know what she went through and I'm so glad that she came out alive like I did.. Beautiful woman that I hope is doing ok today. My heart goes out to the others and their family..

  3. What?! How in the world was this a “he said, she said” kind of case?! They have surveillance footage that strongly supports their case, previous rape/kidnapping history AND DNA EVIDENCE for gods sake!!! The justice system absolutely failed this poor woman. She is incredibly strong for coming on camera and telling her story despite everything she has been through.

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