By Linda Looney-Bond
Clayton County Police are now attributing a series of sexual assaults, that have occurred since December, to one suspect, who is still at-large.
Seven sexual assaults have been reported at apartment complexes in Morrow, Jonesboro, Stockbridge and College Park over the past several months, according to Clayton County Police Detective James Eskew, the lead investigator in the case.
In two of the cases, the victims said they were raped, Eskew said.
In the most recent case, a woman reported being raped, Saturday, at The Woods Apartments in College Park.
"We have reviewed the specific incidents, and many strong similarities occurred in each of the cases," Eskew said. "I'm not going to call it a serial rapist," he said. "I will call him a serial burglar that commits sexual assault, and a serial sexual assaulter.
"This individual has been described as five-six, to five-nine [in height], a black male, with dark complexion, and one individual said he had very, very short hair," Eskew said.
The detective said he could not speculate on the suspect's weight. The man, he said, always concealed his face in some way, either with a ski mask, or a T-shirt pulled over his nose, and also wore gloves.
"This individual is a burglar, who enters apartment complexes on a ground floor apartment," Eskew said. "In some of these cases, he has found an unlocked door and taken advantage of that. He seems to be very confident in entering your residence without you knowing it."
Eskew said each of the victims has been female.
"He wakes them. In some cases, the victim was totally alone, and in some cases, other persons were present in the home, including adult males," he said. "Some of the victims have had children in the home."
The attacker was carrying a handgun in some of the assaults, according to Officer Kevin Hughes, a Clayton County Police Department spokesman.
"He is an armed individual," Eskew said. In at least one of the assaults, according to the detective, "He made threats that he would kill everybody, if anybody woke up."
"He escorts you from your bedroom and leads you to the bathroom," Eskew said. "Most of the time, he makes them disrobe, and he stands behind them. Many times, the victims have been ordered to place their hands on the wall."
Eskew said the attacker would then either fondle, or rape the victims.
In more than one of the attacks, the suspect committed a lewd act, then made the victims "clean themselves up," according to Hughes.
"He orders his victims to the shower, and stands present to make sure they're showering," Eskew said. He said the man presumably insists that the victim take a shower to avoid leaving any evidence, such as DNA, behind. "He's very evidence-conscious," Eskew said.
He said the suspect has also stolen from the victims, taking money or credit cards.
"Right now, he's an individual that's top priority with us," Eskew said.
Hughes said officers are increasing patrols at apartment complexes around the county. He said residents are urged to always lock their windows and doors, be aware of their surroundings, and report any suspicious activity to police.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact Detective James Eskew at (770) 477-3786.