After 13 years of brutal attacks - police are still hunting for a serial rapist terrorizing women up and down the East Coast including several attacks in New Haven.
The Washington Post reports the so-called "East Coast Rapist" is still out there -- proving to be a frustrating mystery for several police departments. The assaults span 13 years and cover four states -- starting in Virginia then moving up to New England including rapes in New Haven in 2007 and Rhode Island in 2006.
Police tell the Washington Post it is frustrating because they have the rapist's DNA, they have a sketch, they know how he operates but they cannot find him. After a 3 year break, he's back.
The most recent rapes took place on Halloween in 2009 in Dale City in Northern Virginia where he assaulted three teenage girls while they were out trick-or-treating. In that case, one of the teens was able to call her mother and 911 but by the time police arrived -- the rapist had slipped away, according to the Washington Post.
"He is a very bold, fearless predator, " said Sgt. Kim Chinn, a Prince William County police spokeswoman. "The concern is that he's out there, he's not going to stop until he's caught and the violence could get worse."
Detectives believe he studies women carefully and plots his attacks over a period of time. He watches them leave for work, walk home, grocery shop. He notices if they lock their doors, their windows. He stalks their neighborhoods and knows when they are most vulnerable, according to the Washington Post.
Police in New Haven, believe the rapist moved to New England for work or to be with family. In each of the attacks, he entered homes through an unlocked door or window and confronted women in bedrooms. In three of the assaults, he attacked women who were home alone with children.
"He's definitely watching them, " said Sgt. Martin Dadio of the New Haven Police Department's special investigations unit. "He's looking to get someone who will do whatever he wants because they want to protect their kid."
The victim of the January 10, 2007 attack in New Haven describes a chilling encounter with the rapist. She awoke in the middle of the night to find the rapist in her bedroom doorway. He assaulted her with her 11-month-old son sleeping in a crib next to her. The apartment complex is not easily found -- tucked behind a residential neighborhood and far from traffic, according to the Washington Post.
"You wouldn't go there unless you had business there or family there," said Lt. Julie Johnson, head of New Haven police's special investigations unit. "He plans these. He's watching. He knows the areas."
All of the attacks have similarities -- the rapist is dressed all in black, uses some kind of a mask, is armed with a gun or knife and speaks in a deep voice.
The Washington Post spoke to police detectives and five of the rapist's victims who all had the same goal in mind: catch this guy before he rapes again. To hear more about the reporting of this story, click here.
To view an interactive map targeting all of the attacks, click here.