Los Angeles police are asking for the public’s help in finding the "Teardrop Rapist," who is responsible for attacking at least 35 women from Hollywood to South L.A.
Police and federal authorities say the man has struck again and again over 17 years, assaulting dozens of women along a corridor that runs through the heart of the city.
The suspect, who is said to have a tattoo or teardrop-like mark near his eye, left behind DNA in 10 of those attacks, but he has continued to elude detectives, police said.
Now, equipped with FBI profilers, a Facebook page, a $100,000 reward and billboards displaying an array of composite sketches, LAPD sex-crimes detectives finally hope to uncover clues to help capture one of the city's most notorious rapists.
The suspect is described as Latino, 5 feet 2 to 5 feet 6 and 130 to 170 pounds. He speaks Spanish and English and sometimes wears a beanie cap or baseball hat. He is now believed to be 40 to 55 years old with brown eyes, a light complexion and brown hair.
The scenario is usually the same: After a few words, the man wields a knife or gun and threatens to kill the victim. He pulls his victims into an alley or secluded area, where he assaults them before vanishing. He typically strikes between 5 and 8 a.m. No vehicle has ever been connected to assaults.
In many of the cases, Johnson said the attacks are often so quick that the victims, between the ages of 14 and 41, didn’t get a good look at the suspect. Composite drawings based on victim descriptions have varied even as DNA identified the same man. Some victims saw a unique, teardrop-like tattoo near the man's eye; others did not.
The last confirmed attack was in June 2012 when a man fitting the serial rapist's description accosted a woman on Naomi Avenue near 25th Street in South L.A.
He approached her wearing a hoodie, tried to talk to her, then pistol-whipped her and forced her into an alley, LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said.
When a vehicle pulled into the alley, the man became frightened and fled on foot. The man hasn’t been seen since.
"We need to develop new leads. The calls have dried up. We need to find this man before he strikes again," said LAPD Det. Sharlene Johnson, who began working the case after a 15-year-old girl was assaulted in 2011 in South L.A.
"He has a connection to L.A. He has some anchor here … most serial rapists don’t stop until they get caught."
Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPD's 24-hour number, (877) 527-3247, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.