Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the suspect, Alvin Ray Wright, is accused of "viciously attacking and sexually assaulting" the 13-year-old girl in a vacant house in the 800 block of N. Caroline St. on Oct. 17.
Wright, of the 1600 block of N. Milton Ave., is on probation for a 2009 drug conviction and does not have a prior record of sexual assaults, but police said they would compare the DNA evidence to other open cases.
In Maryland, all convicted felons must submit DNA samples that are collected and put into a database that now contains samples from 97,000 offenders.
"The detectives on this case worked doggedly, but it was DNA that gave us what we needed," said Deputy Maj. Martin Bartness, who heads the Police Department's special investigations section. The city's DNA analysts have a "tremendous caseload," Bartness said, "but because of the nature of this incident ... this case was prioritized and put to the front of the queue."
The girl, who was walking home about 9 p.m., was grabbed from behind and shoved into the home, which has no first floor. She fell five to six feet, causing her glasses to fall off, and her attacker jumped down and told her to stop screaming or he'd kill her, court records show.
At one point, according to court records, Wright is accused of punching the girl in the face and ribs. During a forensic exam, doctors noted that her right upper front tooth was loose, and she suffered bruises to her legs and knees in addition to other injuries related to the sexual assault.
After he raped her, the attacker climbed a wooden board to get out of the home and fled, Detective Raynard Johnson wrote in charging documents. The girl, meanwhile, stacked items to reach the ground floor and escape, according to reports.
The home, located a few blocks west of Johns Hopkins Hospital, has been vacant for years, with city records showing that a vacant notice was issued in 1996.
The city acquired the house in 2005. While online state records show the city paid just over $205,000, housing officials say no money changed hands. They say the city acquired the house and 17 others through tax sale foreclosure, and that the prior owners owed a combined $205,000 in unpaid taxes.
It's not clear why the house was not secure at the time of the rape. Keeping vacant houses boarded up is a continuing struggle in a city with 16,000 vacant structures deemed unsafe and unlivable — more than 3,000 of them owned by the city or Baltimore's public housing agency.
Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano said Monday evening that his agency looked into the situation after the rape. One of his top deputies told him that "our records indicated that the inspection most proximate to the date of this incident showed the building as secure."
"We also had no records of complaints calling for it to be boarded," Graziano said.
Wright was arrested on Thanksgiving without incident, Guglielmi said. The charges against him include rape, assault, false imprisonment, sexual solicitation of a minor and kidnapping of a child under age 16.
His previous criminal record consists mainly of drug offenses, and he has not received significant sentences for his prior convictions.
In 2009, he received probation after conviction on a drug charge and was handed a 12-year prison sentence, but 11 years, 10 months and 16 days were suspended, records show.
In 2006, drug charges were dropped by prosecutors, and in 2002 he was charged with car theft and pleaded guilty to an unauthorized use of a vehicle charge that carried a six-month jail term. Five months and 23 days were suspended, records show.
State officials say that since 2007, there have been more than 360 arrests throughout Maryland from DNA samples collected by the state.
Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Calvert contributed to this article.