How cigarette butts led to an arrest in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl

The suspect enticed the victim into his vehicle at a park in Webster, Massachusetts, authorities say.

Joshua Besaw
Joshua Besaw. –Webster Police Department

Federal officials say they’ve arrested a Connecticut man in connection with the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl he allegedly enticed into his vehicle in Webster, Massachusetts, and then brought over the Connecticut state line on May 31.

And they say it was DNA taken from tossed cigarette butts that helped lead to his arrest.

Joshua Besaw, 35, of Thompson, Connecticut, is being charged with kidnapping and transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Connecticut.

Back in early June, Webster police were asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect. They said the victim was headed to May Street Park on her bicycle to meet up with a friend when a man in a car asked her for assistance with a friend.


“She went with the male and was subsequently taken to what we believe is a location over the state line in Connecticut, where she was sexually assaulted,” police said at the time. “She was then believed to have been dropped off somewhere in the vicinity of Chase Avenue in Dudley, where she ran to a resident’s home and contacted her mother.”

Authorities said Wednesday the sexual assault occurred in a wooded area in Thompson.

Multiple home and business surveillance videos were used by Webster and Connecticut state police during an investigation, which led authorities to identify Besaw as the suspect.

It was on July 10 that investigators who were monitoring Besaw picked up cigarette butts he had discarded. The DNA on the cigarette butts matched the DNA officials gathered from the incident, according to authorities.

Besaw was arrested at his home, Webster police said. He was ordered held.