Inside the Mind of a Serial Predator

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari
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November 10, 2005

The nation's best FBI and geographic profilers have been called in to help local police in their hunt for the Charlottesville serial rapist. These profilers have helped police narrow their search for this dangerous serial predator.

The Charlottesville serial rapist has had victims ranging from UVA students to middle-aged women; they've been all races, from Asian to Brazilian. The rapist has attacked women in their homes and in public, so on the surface, there may not seem like there is much of a pattern, but some details have emerged as to who this man is.

Who is the Charlottesville serial rapist? Where does he live? What does he do? How does he pick his victims? These are all questions investigators have been trying hard to find the answers to and tonight they share with us an exclusive look at a suspect who has been attacking and raping women in the Charlottesville area since 1997.

“He eats in our restaurants, he works out in our gyms, in fact he probably attends our churches,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.

Charlottesville police say the serial rapist knows this community well. He's able to blend in and evade capture.

“He's charming, quiet, soft-spoken, physically attractive. [He] probably takes pride in his appearance and takes car of himself,” said Longo.

DNA links the serial rapist to seven attacks; one in Waynesboro, 4 near UVa, one in Willoughby and one in Albemarle County.

“He has expanded his locations. And it has caused us to really expand the investigation,” said former Charlottesville Police Sgt. Ralph Barfield.

Nationally acclaimed geographic profiler Kim Rossmo looked at the case.

“There's a connection...between where the offender lives and where they commit their crimes so they don't travel too far but they also don't want to commit their crimes too close to where they live,” said Rossmo

Analyzing the locations of the seven known victims Rossmo tells investigators within a high probability where the suspect lives.

In the case of Charlottesville, the attacks are "mainly centered in and around the University area. That may be a product of the offender, but we also have to recognize that there's a lot of potential victims in those locations,” said Rossmo.

Police no longer circulate a composite sketch of the rapist.

“We know he's a black male anywhere between 5'5 and 6' [and he has an] athletic build and light body hair and white bulging eyes. That fits about 50 percent of black male population, said Det. Robert Luzader with Waynesboro Police.

They say physical descriptions are misleading and want people to focus on his behavior.

“The scary thing for us is he is so unpredictable,” said Barfield.

The serial rapist spends a lot of time peeping and watching women in the early morning hours. He may watch potential victims for days and plan his attacks or in other instances seize an opportunity.

“He may not have a relationship. There is no one to whom he answers to about how he spends his time if he can lay in the weeds at 3:00 in the morning looking in windows and trying to assess potential victims,” said Longo.

Police say he's smart and cunning. He has destroyed physical evidence at the scene that could help identify him. He varies the times of his attacks and sometimes he goes years without re-offending.

“Sometimes he goes a year, sometimes six months, sometimes two years. But when you think maybe he's gone, he's back. That's why I feel confident also that there are victims that aren't calling us,” said Charlottesville police Capt. Chip Harding.

“I know the number of cases that we have [investigated] and I'm thinking it's probably going to be in the 20s, and it could go higher,” said Barfield.

Police are determined to get this guy before that happens.

“I can think of no other act that can be more humiliating that what has been done to these victims and I'm doing everything I possibly can to see that this person is brought to justice,” said Longo.

Police believe even though there hasn't been an attack linked to the serial rapist in more than a year, that he is still out there waiting to strike again. Their biggest fear is that next time he may take this to the next level, and not just rape a woman.

They also believe someone in this community has information that could help them. They urge people to call either 911 or crime stoppers at 434-977-4000, no matter how insignificant they think the information might be.

This may help people come forward, the reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the serial rapist recently went up to $55,000.

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