DALLAS –– Van Dixson, the neighborhood watch captain linked by DNA evidence to four of nine Fair Park area rapes, has been arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
He was taken into custody at 2 p.m. Tuesday at a hotel in Baton Rouge, said U.S. Marshal Kevin Harrison in Louisiana. Marshals in Dallas notified authorities in Louisiana that Dixson may be traveling by bus. His vehicle was found abandoned at a Garland McDonald's on Sept. 8.
Dixson, 38, was named as a suspect on Sept. 7, four days after the department announced that a serial rapist was targeting women near Fair Park. He was linked by DNA evidence to one of the rapes the next day. On Monday, police said DNA evidence tied him to another three, one of which occurred on August 30.
According to an arrest warrant, at 5:45 a.m. that Friday, Dixson approached a woman who was walking with her 15-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son to a DART station in the 3200 block of Meadow St.
He had a tan stocking mask obscuring his face and was armed with a gray and black semiautomatic handgun. The warrant says he demanded money from the three and then waved the gun at the boy, yelling at him to “shut up” as he cried.
The woman frantically offered the man her purse and then fumbled with her shirt while looking for a $20 bill she had there, the document says. Her shirt came undone and Dixson, the warrant alleges, told the children to leave.
Fearing for their lives, the woman ordered her two kids to “go home and sit on the porch and wait and told the suspect that they would not tell anyone,” the warrant states. The victim told investigators she was “terrified” that Dixson would shoot them, the warrant says.
He then led the woman to a grassy alleyway and told her to pull down her pants. She complied. The suspect then made her perform oral sex. He then stopped and attempted to have intercourse with her. The document says she “could feel him bumping the back of her head with the gun.”
The warrant alleges he then made her perform oral sex again before letting her leave. The woman ran home and found her kids sitting on the porch. She called 911 and was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where she was submitted a rape exam.
On Sept. 4, a Crime Stoppers tip led investigators to a home in the 4700 block of Baldwin Street. It was Dixson’s. He agreed to go to police headquarters because he had two warrants for outstanding speeding tickets in Plano.
The warrant says he consented to a search of his room and submitted a DNA sample. Investigators found no gun at his residence and released him. The DNA test later matched Dixson to the Aug. 30 rape and an aggravated sexual assault warrant was issued for his arrest.
Physical evidence from two more rapes is pending, said police spokeswoman Sherri Jeffrey. Dixson’s bail is expected to be $1 million, police said.
Harrison said customers at the bus station in Baton Rouge reported seeing Dixson head to the hotel where he was found. Maj. Jeff Cotner, head of the DPD crimes against persons division, said Dixson made contact with someone in Dallas, which tipped off investigators to his whereabouts. Cotner did not say whether Dixson had any ties to Louisiana.
"There was contact between Dixson and individuals here in Dallas and that right there allowed us to find him," Cotner said.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced the arrest but would not answer any questions. He vowed to provide a "chronology of the entire investigation" at a news conference Wednesday morning.
"I know there's a lot of questions of me, of all of our decisions throughout this investigation," Brown said.
Cotner said he was relieved to make an arrest in the case.
"I feel great," he said. "Chief Brown's already talked about all the hard work that's gone into this. I hope the citizens of Dallas are relieved, just as we are."