Released by the Texas Department of Public Safety:
TYLER, TX - The Texas Rangers and local law enforcement authorities are seeking information and warning elderly women to beware of a serial rapist/burglar linked to several crimes in central and south- central Texas.
Authorities are investigating as many as 12 rapes, attempted rapes or burglaries in Yoakum and Luling and in rural Leon, Bell and Falls counties between January and November of 2009.
"Many of these cases have been linked by physical evidence, including DNA," said Texas Ranger Chief Tony Leal. "All of the victims have been elderly women ranging in age from 65 to 91 who live alone. The rapist has been described as a thin, young, dark-skinned man between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet tall."
Investigators believe the offender has a sexual preference for elderly females, and therefore may not be in a romantic relationship with a woman his own age. The suspect has demonstrated his familiarity with each of these communities and apparently has the freedom, either in personal life or at work, to move about during the late evening and pre-dawn early morning hours.
In some cases, there was a reported burglary of the victim's residence prior to the sexual assault. It is believed the rapist prowls the victims' neighborhoods before striking in the early morning hours. In many cases, he has disabled the victim's telephone.
Anyone who may know someone fitting the description and characteristics of this rapist is urged to contact their local law enforcement agency or the Texas Department of Public Safety Fusion Center at 1-866-786-5972. Callers may remain anonymous and a reward for information is being offered by local Crime Stoppers programs.
"Each of these victims is someone's mother, grandmother or neighbor, and we need the public's help in identifying the suspect responsible for these crimes," said Ranger Chief Leal.
Citizens should be vigilant of their surroundings at all times and notify local authorities if they notice suspicious activity, such as prowling at night. Police recommend that residents their lock doors and windows and leave their outside lights on at night.
This investigation involves the combined efforts of the DPS, the Yoakum Police Department, the Luling Police Department, the Leon County Sheriff's Office, the Bell County Sheriff's Office, the Falls County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI.