Mitchell Lipcon
  • Vanishing Blonde

    MIAMI, FLA. -- On the morning of Feb. 21, 2005, a passerby discovered a woman -- naked, unconscious and beaten within an inch of her life – in a vacant lot of a Florida cul-de-sac. The discovery of Inna Budnytska, a cruise ship worker originally from Ukraine, marks the beginning of a manhunt for her attacker.
    Mitchell Lipcon
  • Vanishing Blonde

    While recovering from an unrelated workplace injury, Inna Budnytska was housed by her cruise line employer at the Airport Regency Hotel in Miami, Fla., miles from the gritty cul-de-sac where she was later found. The hotel and its sophisticated security system would prove crucial to solving the mystery.
    Inna Budnystka
  • Vanishing Blonde

    Budnytska's account of the night was hazy. She initially told police she'd been attacked by two Caucasian men with Spanish accents. For months after Budnytska was found far from her hotel room, Miami-Dade police had no solid leads.
    Inna Budnystka
  • Vanishing Blonde

    Peter Dimouleas, a friend at the time who later married Budnytska, was seen with her the night of the attack and was one of the first suspects in the investigation. Dimouleas told police that he and Budnytska had eaten dinner together at a Miami-area restaurant and then parted ways around midnight when she took a cab back to her hotel. Dimouleas was fully cleared by police.
    Inna Budnystka
  • Vanishing Blonde

    The Airport Regency Hotel denied responsibility for the attack and hired Ken Brennan to solve the crime. After decades in law enforcement -- first as a policeman in Long Island, N.Y., then as a DEA agent in Florida -- Brennan became a private investigator. He has a dedication to solving sex crimes and said he still has the arrest file for the first sexual predator he helped put behind bars.
    Ken Brennan
  • Vanishing Blonde

    Brennan scoured the hotel's surveillance video from the night of the attack for clues and finally identified a suspect, Michael Lee Jones. In 2006, after a series of intense interrogations by Brennan and Miami-Dade Police Detective Alan Foote, Jones, who was living in Maryland at the time, was arrested and extradited to Florida to face charges of sexual battery and kidnapping in the Budnytska attack. Due to a lack of evidence in the case, Jones was never brought to trial. In 2007, he took a plea deal, was sentenced to two years in prison.
    Florida Department of Corrections
  • Vanishing Blonde

    Despite the setback, Brennan remained convinced that Jones was responsible for Budnytska's attack and perhaps had other unknown victims. Miami-Dade police entered Jones's DNA into the CODIS database, a national DNA database for law enforcement, which later linked him to other rape cases in Colorado and New Orleans. This composite sketch, which was made in 2003 from a New Orleans woman's description of a man she said raped her, bore an eerie resemblance to Jones. It would become an important piece of evidence in the case against him.
    New Orleans Department of Police
  • Vanishing Blonde

    Jones, seen here in a 2009 prison mug shot, was eventually extradited to Colorado to face trial for a separate rape case, for which he received a sentence of 24 years to life.
    Colorado Department of Corrections
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