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Yoakum women not resting easy until serial rapist caught

By Sonny Long
April 10, 2010 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated April 9, 2010 at 11:10 p.m.


THE STORY SO FAR

Jan. 21, 2009 - 66-year-old Yoakum woman assaulted in her home.

Feb. 27, 2009 - 79-year old Yoakum woman sexually assaulted in her home.

March 4, 2009 - A 42-year-old Yoakum man is arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault and aggravated robbery.

May 3 - Aggravated robbery charge is dropped.

May 5 - Aggravated sexual assault charge is dropped when DNA does not match. The man is released from Lavaca County Jail.

Nov. 9 - 67-year-old Yoakum woman, the same woman attacked in January who then moved across town, assaulted in her home.

Dec. 14 - Texas Rangers release first description of man dubbed the "Twilight Rapist" and report links to 12 cases in five counties. The governor forms a task force headed by the Texas Rangers to investigate the crimes.

March 2 - An 80-year-old woman in Moody is attacked in the early morning hours. The attack is believed to be done by the same man.

TO HELP

If you know someone fitting the description and characteristics of this rapist, contact your local law enforcement agency or the Texas Department of Public Safety Fusion Center at 866-786-5972. Callers may remain anonymous and a reward is being offered for information.

YOAKUM - Although the last sexual assault of an elderly woman took place here about five months ago, women in Yoakum aren't resting easy.

"Every lady is still wondering where he can be," said Ann Seidenberger, a member of Xi Chi Theta Sorority that held a community meeting with law enforcement officials last March following the second attack. "We're all still being careful and looking over our shoulder."

Seidenberger said she knows of some women who took gun safety courses following the assaults, and she personally purchased pepper spray as did many others.

The last reported sexual assault of an elderly woman in Yoakum came in November.

Mela Walker, who helped organize the community meeting attended by about 225, lives on a ranch about 10 miles from town. Walker is in Yoakum often and attends meetings there regularly.

"Life is not what we used to call normal in Yoakum," Walker said. "No one is letting their guard down. I think this will continue until we hear that the rapist has been caught. No one has resumed their comfortable lifestyle."

In December, Texas Gov. Rick Perry formed a task force headed by the Texas Rangers to investigate the attacks in Yoakum and as many as 12 related rapes, attempted rapes or burglaries in Leon, Bell and Falls counties. DNA evidence linked some of the cases.

In early March, an 80-year-old Moody woman was sexually assaulted in her home during the early morning hours. Moody is 14 miles north of Temple.

Tom Vinger, Department of Public Safety spokesman, said that attack is thought to be by the same man.

A December news release from DPS indicated that the suspect had demonstrated his familiarity with each of the communities where he struck and apparently has the freedom, either in personal life or at work, to move about during the late evening and pre-dawn early morning hours.

The rapist has been described as a thin, young, dark-skinned man between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet tall.

Investigators believe the offender has a sexual preference for elderly females, and therefore may not be in a romantic relationship with a woman his own age.

Glenn Owen, a professional profiler and law enforcement officer in East Texas, contacted the Advocate after reading about the attacks.

"We profile killers and rapists in three different categories - organized offender, disorganized offender and a mix between organized and disorganized," Owen wrote in an e-mail. "In my opinion this serial rapist is organized."

"I would say the offender comes from a home that is not broken (parents not divorced), but dysfunctional with a very dominant father figure who may have verbally and mentally abused his wife and children," Owen added.

The former Army criminal investigator also offered the following profile of the perpetrator.

Above average in intelligence.

More than likely graduated from high school and could have taken college courses.

Could work as a skilled laborer.

Likely married with children.

More than likely he has a criminal history of theft, burglary or criminal trespass.

Voyeurism is also likely one of his abnormal behaviors. He could be a peeping Tom.

Owen also wrote that he thought the attack in Moody was the work of the same man.

Vinger said the Texas Rangers had no comment on the accuracy of Owen's profile.

Yoakum Police Chief Arthur Rogers said his officers continue to remind residents to be vigilant.

"This kind of person will attack again," Rogers said. "As long as he is out there, there is the potential for him to strike again.

"We are still telling people they need to be on watch and be very careful. Immediately report anything suspicious."

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