DALLAS (AP) — A crime-watch volunteer suspected of raping four women in a Dallas neighborhood has been arrested more than 400 miles away in Louisiana, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.
U.S. Marshals spokesman Trent Touchstone said local and federal law officers arrested 38-year-old Van Draylan Dixson in Baton Rouge, La. Police have said DNA evidence so far links Dixson to four sexual assaults in the city’s Fair Park neighborhood, where investigators believed as many as nine women were raped this summer by the same man.
Authorities briefly took Dixson into custody last week and obtained a DNA sample from him, but they lacked evidence to bring charges at the time, police Maj. Jeff Cotner said. He was charged in one of the attacks on Saturday, and his car was found abandoned in a Dallas suburb the next day.
Arrest warrants charge Dixson with aggravated sexual assault in four attacks. DNA test results from two other attacks were pending, while DNA evidence from two more in the inner-city neighborhood were not available, Cotner said.
As a crime-watch volunteer, Dixson would patrol the streets several times a week, neighbors said.
“He just walks every night, all night,” one resident, Billy Washington, told Dallas television station WFAA. “Every time I would look out my window, or out my door, he was walking.”
Dixson has been part of the area’s neighborhood crime-watch group, the Mill City Community Association, since January. The group’s president, Alendra Lyons, didn’t return messages Monday from The Associated Press.
State criminal records show Dixson was arrested and convicted of aggravated robbery in 1993. He was also arrested as recently as last month on a deadly conduct charge, according to Dallas County records.
Authorities say they believe one man is responsible for the nine sexual assaults that have been reported in the Fair Park area since June. In each incident, the attacker approached his victims in the early morning hours, forced them to secluded areas nearby, then robbed and sexually assaulted them.
The assailant in each case was armed with a handgun, wore shorts and a T-shirt, and masked his face using various types of cloth, according to police. The victims said they were approached on foot.
A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and an indictment in the cases.