The Hunt for the Serial Rapist

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari
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November 9, 2005

Since 1997 the Charlottesville serial rapist has struck again and again and each time he has managed to elude police.

A task force of crime fighters from Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Waynesboro, UVa, Virginia State police and the FBI have been hunting this man for eight years.

Are they any closer to catching this brutal predator? And what will it take to find justice for his victims?

Charlottesville police say he's walked our streets, hidden in our bushes, peeped in our windows and carefully picked victim after victim.

"It's only a matter of time [before] he's going to again, said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.

He's patient and smart say police and he watches and he waits.

"He has pre-selected all of his victims so if he can't do #1, he might go to #4," said Retired Sgt. Ralph Barfield.

The serial rapist first struck here at this hotel in Waynesboro in 1997. The victim came out of her hotel room and ran to her car to grab a laptop computer, she left the door open and when she went back inside that's when she was attacked.

"It marked the first of a series of what would now be seven sexual assaults," said Longo.

"[The detectives] were able to isolate some DNA that we believe belonged to the suspect," said Waynesboro Police Detective Robert Luzader.

DNA evidence that would soon be linked to more victims. In June of 1999, he attacked a woman in her home on Jefferson Park Avenue.

"What was most alarming was that during the course of the assault the suspect actually said that he had been watching her," said Longo

Almost a year later, he found his third victim on 13th street NW. The serial rapist, it seemed, would strike every 12 to 24 months but then he surprised investigators.

"Two or three weeks after the [13th Street] April 2000 attack, a student here at the University of Virginia was walking through this parking lot and the suspect was somewhere hiding amongst the cars and attacked her, knocked her to the ground, physically beat her, choked her," said Longo

In November 2002 he brutally attacked another woman. So badly, she needed reconstructive surgery. In April 2003, he raped again.

With 7 confirmed attacks, police are doing everything they can to prevent this man from striking again. They say in 8 years they have eliminated over 200 suspects. They know now who he's not; they just don't know who he is.

"He is by far our most wanted person and I just wish I could tell you who he was," said Longo.

"I have never had anyone that cunning and smart that it would take so much and the frustrating thing is we are no closer than we were," said Barfield.

There have been a number of other rapes police believe are connected to the serial rapist but DNA has not linked those conclusively.

They do believe the community is going to help them catch this guy and hope that if someone sees anything out of the ordinary, a man peeping or lurking in the bushes, they call 911 immediately.

Police have involved FBI profilers and geographic profilers in their hunt for the serial rapist. They hope this will narrow their search for this dangerous serial predator.

This is the first in a series concerning the serial rapist.

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