Thursday, April 13, 2000

Anniversary puts police on alert for serial rapist

Residents warned to be aware, call if suspicious

BY Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Police have some advice for Cincinnati-area residents today, the two-year anniversary of a serial rapist's first documented attack:

        Be alert. Listen to your instincts. And if anything — anything at all — seems not quite right in your neighborhood, call the police.

        “No matter how small the problem, we'd rather check it out,” said Mason Police Lt. Steve Schuchart, adding that extra patrols will be out during the predawn hours when the rapist has struck.

        The timing of the rapist's attacks — April 13, 1998; April 14, 1999; and July 25 in both those years — make investigators wonder whether those dates hold some special significance for him, Lt. Schuchart said. But the date of the latest attack, Oct. 4, deviates from the apparent pattern.

        DNA tests have linked the unidentified, blue-eyed, red-haired man to the rapes of a 27-year-old woman and four girls ages 10 to 14. Three of the attacks occurred in Mason; the others, in Montgomery and Colerain Township.

        “Everybody has to be on a heightened state of awareness,” said Warren County Prosecutor Tim Oliver, “and clearly we need the cooperation of the citizens of the area.”

        The rapes have been confined to Warren and Hamilton counties, but lawmen in nearby Butler County are on alert nevertheless, Butler County Sheriff's Maj. Anthony Dwyer said Wednesday.

        “We're taking it very seriously and we're doing everything we can to be more visible and prevent a strike in our county,” Maj. Dwyer said.

        Besides making increased patrols, deputies have been instructed to pay special attention to complaints of barking dogs, prowlers, suspicious vehicles or suspicious persons, Maj. Dwyer said.

        The rapist wears a ski mask and typically enters houses through unlocked doors or windows. He has carried the younger victims outside before sexually assaulting them, authorities say.

        The case is about to gain national exposure.

        Avery Mann, spokesman for America's Most Wanted TV show, on Wednesday said a four-minute segment on “the Ohio Bogeyman” is planned for broadcast Saturday.

        A task force of federal, state and local police has been working since September. The group has developed a psychological profile of the attacker, and a possible area of residence.


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