Friday, October 12, 2001

Assault investigated

Police question any link to serial rapist

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Police said Thursday they doubt there is any link between the Wednesday sexual assault on a 15-year-old Mount Washington girl and an unidentified serial rapist who was active in the Tristate in 1998 and 1999.

        “I'm not ruling this out. But, to be honest with you, my gut feeling is it may not be the same guy,” Lt. Steve Luebbe, commander of the Cincinnati Police Division's personal crimes unit, said Thursday. “The sexual offense was different in this than it was in the other ones.”

        Even so, Cincinnati detectives are comparing notes with a task force that was established in 1999 to identify the serial rapist but has been dormant recently because the suspect seemingly disappeared.

        The Mount Washington attack occurred almost two years to the date of the last rape — that of a 10-year-old girl in Colerain Township — linked to the serial suspect.

        The latest victim, as in most of the other cases, was forcibly taken from her Ambar Drive home in the early morning hours and led to a practice football field at nearby Guardian Angels Elementary School, where she was sexually assaulted.

        “The MO was close enough that it bears following up,” said Detective Sgt. Todd Carter, of Mason, where the serial rapes began in April 1998 with an attack on a 14-year-old girl.

        “I'd say it's probably not our guy. There was no mask. Our suspect took great pains to disguise himself.”

        The latest victim said her attacker wore a ball cap, not a ski mask as in the other incidents.

        Scientists at the Hamilton County Coroner's Office will determine whether they can extract DNA from evidence in the Mount Washington case. That process could take several weeks.

        If so, they will compare it with DNA from the rapes of four children and a 27-year-old woman who were assaulted by the serial suspect in Mason, Montgomery and Colerain Township, Lt. Luebbe said.

        Still, several characteristics set the latest attack apart from the others, authorities said.

        In addition to the disguise, the suspect in Mount Washington walked with a pronounced limp, unlike the serial suspect, who did not, Lt. Luebbe said.

        The serial rapist reportedly had blue or greenish eyes and a reddish mustache. The Mount Washington girl did not see the color of her attacker's eyes because he kept pulling his cap down.

        All of the serial rape victims described their attacker as white, in his mid- to late-30s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build.

        The Mount Washington suspect is described as white, in his 40s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 160 pounds, with stubble on his face and a pock-marked complexion.


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