MANHATTAN, Kan. — Two police departments made an announcement Thursday regarding new information about a sexual assault investigation involving a serial rapist who is believed to have attacked more than a dozen women from 2000 to 2008 in the college towns of Manhattan and Lawrence.
Members of the Riley County Police Department and the Lawrence Police Department joined forces for the news conference in Manhattan, Kan., to announce the ongoing investigation in hopes of discovering whether there are any other victims in the case because current records show a seven year gap in attacks.
The Kansas attorney general’s office announced in 2009 that it was investigating the link between the attacks after the two communities sought help. Most of the attacks happened during school breaks. All were in off-campus housing where students commonly live.
Officials have said the suspect is usually armed and covers his face. He’s also believed to have conducted some sort of surveillance before the attacks.
“Each incident involved a masked intruder entering the victim’s off-campus residence, mostly between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. as the victim slept,” police said.
In 12 of the 14 cases, the victims were alone. Most of the victims reported having locked their doors, but police say there were no signs of forced entry at their homes. In most cases police were able to locate the point of entry, but in some cases how the assailant got into the home could not be determined.
Riley County officials have been working with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, FBI and U.S. Marshal on the cases.
The assailant is described as a white male who is between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall. The descriptions of his build varied, but in the most recent case stemming from July 2015 the assailant was described as heavier set, especially in the stomach and thighs.
The prominent stomach was a frequently mentioned characteristic from previous cases. As for age, police believe the assailant was at least 33 years old at the time of the 2015 incident based upon the date of the earliest case.
There are no confirmed descriptions of the assailant from anyone other than survivors of these crimes, police said.
“While the physical violence of the assailant was usually limited to the rape itself, these were all very violent acts carried out by an assailant who did so in a cold, calm, calculated manner,” police said.
An anonymous local donor gave $10,000 to the Riley County Police Department to aid solving this crime. The donor asked that the money be used for as a reward for information leading to an arrest.
Tips in the case can be submitted here.
Anyone with information relevant to this investigation should call Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777 or toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). SMS Text tips are also accepted by sending a text to “CRIMES” (274637) and starting the body of your message with “TIP353.” Webtips are also accepted by visiting Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers online or www.RileyCountyPolice.org