America

Suspected 'East Coast Rapist' Caught, Charged

New Haven, Conn. police are holding Aaron Thomas on charges of sex assault, burglary and risk of injury to a minor. He's jailed on a $1 million bond. Thomas will appear in court today to face charges that he's the feared East Coast Rapist, a sexual predator who's raped at least 12 girls and women in four states over 13 years. Police fear there are more victims.

Reuters reports Thomas tried to commit suicide over the weekend in his cell. He was arrested just days after the FBI put up digital billboards from Virginia to Connecticut, asking for information.

A year ago, the Washington Post published a lengthy story on police efforts to find the suspect, whom they believed studied potential victims carefully. One woman was raped in her apartment as her baby son slept nearby in his crib. Two teenaged girls were raped as they walked home on Halloween. Another two teenaged girls were assaulted as they strolled home from a shopping center.

Thomas, a trucker, apparently lived near by all the attack scenes linked by DNA evidence. From the March 16, 2010 Post article:

Experts say the rapist is probably in a continual search for his next victim. Police think he lives in, works in or is very familiar with the areas he prowls. He scopes out locations to intercept women, secluded sites in the midst of busy neighborhoods and ways to escape. He grabs women who are in their comfort zones, near or in their own homes.

Investigators will hold a press conference later today in Manassas, Va.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.