Additional information about the cases provided in past media accounts
• Sometimes a knife or gun is used during the attacks.
• At least the first five crimes in Manhattan occurred in second-floor apartments.
• Victims’ ages ranged from late teens to late 20s.
• Some victims were college students.
• First three crimes occurred at the same apartment complex in Manhattan.
• All crimes occurred during some sort of college break.
• All of the crimes — except for one — occurred between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
• One incident involved two victims.
• In at least one case, the victim was blindfolded during the attack.
• No information has been provided by police about any forensic evidence left at the crime scenes.
The Journal-World consulted with two nationally known experts in the area of serial rape. From the facts of the cases, both were able to provide some basic profiling information on the rapist — as well as some predictions for the rapist’s future behavior.
• White male
• Height between 5-foot-9 and 6-foot
• 25-40 years of age
• Slim build
• Usually armed with a weapon and wears some sort of garment to cover his face.
• Suspect is possibly conducting some sort of surveillance before each attack.
Information from the Kansas Attorney General's office.
In 2008, police in Lawrence and Manhattan began saying that they believed the same man was responsible for the rapes in both cities. According to a news release, that connection was made from this evidence:
• Similar suspect description.
• Victim similarities (college-age women).
• Location of attacks (off-campus housing where students often live).
• Time of attacks (late night, during school breaks).
Information from the Kansas Attorney General's office.
The Kansas Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, is now in charge of the investigation — supported by assistance from Lawrence Police and Riley County Police. A representative from the Attorney General’s Office said there were no updates on the case, and declined repeated interview requests from the Journal-World to discuss the case. The last case law enforcement have connected to the serial rapist was the Dec. 1, 2008, rape of a Lawrence woman.
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call any of these:
• Lawrence Police Department Investigations Division (785) 830-7430.
• Douglas County Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline (785) 843-TIPS.
• Riley County Police Department (785) 537-2112.
• Riley County Crime Stoppers (785) 539-7777.
During fall 2000 — when Kansas State University students were on break from classes — a man raped a woman at a Manhattan apartment.
The apartment complex, University Commons Apartments, was a short distance from campus.
The attack that night was the first in what local and state authorities believe is a string of 13 more rapes. The attacker, authorities say, has committed at least eight rapes in Manhattan and another six in Lawrence.
The targets are all the same: young women. Many of the rapes occurred in apartments or in houses that are near KSU or Kansas University campuses.
This serial rapist last attacked nearly two years ago. And, it seems, awareness of this danger among young women who live in the college towns is fading. Local and state law enforcement officials will say little about the rapist or his attacks. And they remain tight-lipped about any progress they’re making in finding the man. Meanwhile, experts say there’s a strong possibility that the man known simply as “the serial rapist” may never be caught.
Kansas University junior Chelsea Linden hadn’t heard about the serial rapist when she first came to KU in 2008.
But following the last known crime — a Dec. 1, 2008, rape of a Lawrence woman — Linden learned some of the general details of the case: the rapist strikes late at night during some kind of college break, targets college-age women and stalks his victims before the attack.
Nearly two years later, however, awareness of the case has decreased among her circle of friends.
“I wouldn’t say it hits our radar too often,” said Linden, who lives with four other women near campus.
And with a cyclical college population, some incoming freshman may never have heard about the case, said Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of KU’s Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center.
“Our population changes every year. I’m sure there are students who aren’t aware,” she said.
It’s a dynamic that could erase all the education police and advocates provided just several years ago, said Mary Todd, a clinical psychologist and director of the K-State Women’s Center.
“I am concerned that as time goes by you don’t hear of a big scary crime and people start to let their guard down,” she said.
While the case details can cause some discomfort, it’s important to keep the case current in the minds of young women, Rose-Mockry said.
School breaks bring the seemingly obligatory warnings from campus and local authorities, as all of the crimes associated with the serial rapist have occurred during some school break — winter, spring, Thanksgiving, or summer break. It’s important to be vigilant, officials say.
Lock your doors, as police believe the rapist entered through unlocked windows or doors.
Be aware of your surroundings, as police warn that the rapist “stalked” his victims prior to the attack.
While the warnings may seem like common-sense advice, Todd says acting on each one adds up.
“The more items that you add to lessen your risk, the less your chances” of being a victim are, she said.
Catching a predator
If police have made any progress in the case, they’re not talking about it, nor are they releasing details about even some of the basics of the cases — such as the general location, weapon used or ages of the victims.
Spokesmen for both the Lawrence Police and Riley County Police referred all questions about the case to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, which is now coordinating the investigation with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Requests for further information, as well as a request for an interview to discuss progress on the case, were declined by the AG’s office.
“There’s nothing new,” said Gavin Young, communications director for the AG’s office.
Despite a lack of details, experts in the field of serial rape say there are some inferences they can make about the suspect and what police are doing to catch him.
Janet Warren, a professor at the University of Virginia who has consulted for the FBI and other law enforcement on cases of serial rape and murder, said a first step in the process is creating a criminal profile based on what police know from each crime scene.
“It’s like creating a videotape in your mind of what exactly would happen,” said Warren of the process she goes through when investigating cases.
Warren provided some basic details about whom she would suspect in the case: a socially awkward person who experienced a rough childhood, lived near the scene of the first crimes and who has probably been involved with the criminal justice system before.
“I just think he was a young guy who thought these were hot, young women and he got away with it and liked doing it,” she said.
After committing the first three rapes at the same apartment complex, and the first five crimes, in Manhattan, the rapist moved his crimes to Lawrence in 2004 — a move that Warren said likely was to avoid detection. The move also is evidence that the young offender was maturing and becoming more sophisticated in his crimes, she said.
Stephen Thompson, a Michigan-based criminal investigation consultant who works with law enforcement agencies across the country developing profiles of sex offenders, said as a predator’s skills improve, it becomes increasingly difficult for police to catch him.
“There’s just not enough there,” said Thompson of cases like these where an offender is patient and smart about his crimes.
And with any sex crime, a first question people have is why police haven’t caught the rapist using DNA evidence.
Police have never said whether such evidence has been collected at the scenes, and Thompson said some criminals have learned ways to remove such evidence. There’s also the chance that even if there is DNA evidence, the suspect might not be in an offender database. He’s been lucky, and careful, Thompson said.
“He’s consistently not making mistakes.”
After a decade, that’s not likely to change, he said.
The odds of catching this rapist are “probably pretty slim,” he said. “My sense is that it may never be closed.”
After a two-year lull in the crimes, there are a number of reasons why the crimes stopped and it’s possible the man may never rape again in this area, Warren said.
“He may have moved to another part of the country. He may have been incarcerated. He may have gotten sick,” she said.
Final barrier to healing
None of the victims could be reached for an interview, but Todd, who has counseled several of those women, said that as years pass, hopes fade that the rapist will ever be caught.
“One of his victims tells me that she prays he will turn himself in,” she said.
Despite the trauma, Todd says the victims she’s still in touch with — who now live in communities across the country — have worked through the experience and become stronger women.
“They’re so full of life. They live full lives,” she said. However, “that came out of therapy, of pain, of families that were shaken to their very core.”
The unsolved nature of the crimes will remain a final barrier in the healing process, she said.
For the victims, catching the offender is “the best thing that could happen to them,” she said. “It’s impossible to have complete closure while the person who assaulted you is still out there.”