DALLAS (AP) — A crime-watch volunteer suspected of raping four women in a Dallas neighborhood where as many as nine women may have been attacked by the same man this summer was arrested Tuesday in a Louisiana motel, police said.
Van Dralan Dixson, 38, was arrested in Baton Rouge, La., two days after his car was found abandoned more than 400 miles away in a Dallas suburb, Dallas Police Maj. Jeff Cotner said. Dixson is jailed in Louisiana awaiting his return to Texas.
Police said DNA evidence has so far linked Dixson to four sexual assaults in Dallas' Fair Park neighborhood, where investigators believe one man is responsible for as many as nine sexual assaults since June. The assailant in each case was armed with a handgun, forced his victims to secluded areas and then robbed and sexually assaulted them, according to police.
Dixson was charged with rape in the early 1990s, before he spent more than a decade in prison for a robbery conviction, but that charge was dropped after his accuser was killed by a lightning strike. The prosecutor in that case said the alleged victim reported being held at gunpoint.
Cotner released few details about Dixson's arrest on Tuesday, saying only that "contacts" between Dixson and individuals in Dallas helped track him to the motel. Cotner said more information would be released Wednesday.
Dixson was questioned by police last week and voluntarily submitted a saliva swab for DNA evidence after a tipster identified him as a person of interest. But investigators didn't have enough evidence to hold him at the time, Cotner has said.
Dixson was charged Saturday in one of the attacks, but police found his abandoned car on Sunday.
Arrest warrants charge Dixson with four counts of aggravated sexual assault. DNA test results from two other attacks were pending, while DNA evidence from three more in the inner-city neighborhood were not available, police said.
One of the victims told police her assailant shooed away her two children before attacking her at gunpoint, according to a police affidavit obtained Tuesday by The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.
The woman said a masked man approached her, brandished a handgun and demanded money while she was walking with her children in Fair Park on Aug. 30. When she fumbled with her shirt looking for money, the woman said, the man told her children to leave, and then raped her in a nearby alley.