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2010-01-28

DPS task force assists in search for serial rapist

By Judith Pannebaker

On Thursday, Jan. 21, edition, the Bandera County Courier reprinted an article by Ashlea Sigman, originally published online at www.kbtx.com, about the so-called “Twilight Rapist,” who has been terrorizing women in several Central and South Texas cities. Law enforcement officers believe the same man is responsible for a string of rapes.

That same day - and a year after the attacks began - Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked high-ranking officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to establish a multi-jurisdictional major crime task force to assist local law enforcement agencies apprehend the violent serial rapist. Perry asked DPS to make all its resources - including the Texas Rangers - available to assist in capturing the rapist responsible for multiple sexual assaults of elderly women.

“The viciousness of these attacks warrants a combined effort to bring this criminal to justice,” said Perry. “The creation of this task force will leverage our state’s law enforcement personnel in coordination with local law enforcement, to bring an end to this heinous crime spree.”

Dubbed the “Twilight Rapist,” because most attacks have occurred just before dawn, the perpetrator has been linked to eight sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults, and four burglaries or attempted burglaries over the past year. The victims, who all lived alone, range in age from 65 to 91. Attacks have occurred in Leon, Falls, Bell and DeWitt counties.

At an earlier public meeting, investigators revealed that the rapist entered the houses through a window - sometimes removing a pane of glass or, in one case, an entire window. Additionally, it was discovered that he had broken into the homes several weeks prior to the sexual attacks, often cutting the telephone lines. The night of the attacks, the suspect apparently disabled the phones again. Since no fingerprints have been lifted, authorities believe he wears surgical gloves.

The suspect has been described as a thin, young and dark-skinned man between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet tall. Although DNA has linked the unknown subject to several crimes, no specific suspect has been identified in the state DNA database. According to authorities, the last known attack of the “Twilight Rapist” occurred Nov. 29 in Luling.

DPS will work with local law enforcement officials involved in the investigation to establish the task force and provide them whatever resources they need.

A DPS hotline has been established at 866-786-5972. Authorities have urged anyone with possible information on the serial rapist to contact them.