Dallas PD announces 9th victim of serial Fair Park area rapist; reward offered

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by MARCUS MOORE & MATT GOODMAN

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on September 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 5 at 5:57 PM

Serial rapist

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Editor's note: This story has been updated since its initial publishing.

DALLAS –– Police say a ninth victim of the serial rapist targeting women in the Fair Park area came forward Thursday, hours before a planned community meeting meant to address the attacks.

Sgt. Warren Mitchell said the woman spoke to investigators this morning. She was raped in “late July” in the 2700 block of Morning Ave. The victim initially said the attack occurred on July 5, but subsequent interviews found that wasn’t the case.

The rapist first struck on June 22 then on June 30. Between August 20 and September 1, he raped six women. Investigators pointed to the six week gap as evidence that he was, as Maj. Jeff Cotner put it, “off the streets” and possibly in jail. The ninth victim is the first to come forward to say the man raped her between June 30 and August 20. 

Maj. Cotner, head of the crimes against persons division, said police are checking jail logs to see if anyone matches the man's description. The department has received 25 tips in the case. Investigators are awaiting the results of DNA evidence found at the scene of at least one of the crimes. The department has asked the lab to expedite the findings.

Also Thursday, Oak Farms Dairy offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case. If you have information, you are asked to contact Dallas police.

The attacker is a black man between 25 and 30 years old. He stands between 5'6'' and 5'11'' and likely weighs near 200 pounds. He has used a gun in each attack and has worn gold-rimmed prescription glasses. He may be driving a gray four-door Volvo or Honda Civic and always targets women between midnight and 6 a.m. 

Many of the victims have been walking outside when the man approaches. He often forces the women to a secluded area before raping them. 

Police will not have a composite sketch of the suspect in time for the community meeting, Mitchell said. 

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the True Lee Missionary Baptist Church at 3907 Bertrand Ave., which sits in the shadow of the three-mile radius where all of the rapes have occurred. 

Police will likely face tough questions from residents who feel they weren't notified soon enough. The public wasn't told of the assaults until September 3. 

"The community is shocked and upset that we are just now finding out about it," said Felicia Clayborne, a neighborhood resident. "This is the heart of Dallas.  We should get the same attention just like the other neighborhoods."

Councilwoman Carolyn Davis, who represents the district where the sexual assaults are occurring, said she was not informed of the rapes until Wednesday. She said yesterday that she wished police would have notified the public when the first two women were assaulted, even if that was prior to the crimes being connected.

"Would I have done it differently? Yes, I wish they’d have put it out, the time it happened with the first two individuals,” she said.

Chief David Brown has forcefully denied that the department has not prioritized the rapes in southern Dallas. One of the two initial victims refused to cooperate with police, making it difficult for investigators to connect the two. The chief said the public was notified immediately once police connected the assaults. 

“There wasn’t information to connect them," Brown said yesterday. "Within the last few days, not the last week or two, yesterday, we connected the other five offenses to the first two in June and we came to the media that afternoon." 

Some in the neighborhood say they've begun taking precautions to protect themselves. 

"I am strapped. I carry a knife, I carry mace," said Carmen Kellum. "I don't care if police don't like it. I'm going to do what I have to do to take care of me."

Prior to the attacks, Kellum said she felt comfortable freely walking in the neighborhood.

"Now we have to watch our backs because you don't know who it could be," she said. "It could be one of our neighbors, you just don't know. It's frightening." 

The attacks are also close to where the State Fair of Texas will convene in three weeks. Sue Gooding, Fair spokeswoman, says officials have requested more police and will place more cameras and independent security around the park to protect fairgoers. 

"We are concerned. We are concerned about the Dallas neighborhoods as we would also be concerned if it was in the suburbs," Gooding said. "We hope this comes to a resolution quickly."

CrimeStoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information in the case and Oak Farms Dairy has added another $10,000 to that. To submit an anonymous tip, call 214.373.8477. 

News 8's Rebecca Lopez contributed to this report

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