By Joel Hall
A 16-year old female was sexually assaulted early Saturday morning at a Morrow apartment complex, according to Clayton County police.
While police are releasing few details about the case, authorities suspect the assault is tied to a serial rapist, believed to be responsible for a string of rapes and assaults throughout Clayton County.
According to Officer India Smith, a spokesperson for the Clayton County Police Department, a young woman was assaulted at the Marquis at Mt. Zion apartment complex around 4 a.m., on Saturday.
Smith said the suspect entered the apartment through an unlocked window and went into the victim's bedroom while she was asleep, and other family members were also asleep in the apartment.
"He did come through the window," Smith said. "He did brandish a weapon. It was a black, semi-automatic handgun. He did motion to her to be quiet. He didn't make any threats toward her. She was assaulted, but she wasn't raped. She [the victim] didn't notify her father until he [the attacker] was gone."
Smith said that no other family members in the house were assaulted, although she did not know the number of family members living at the residence.
The victim's description of the attacker was vague, as the attacker's face was covered, according to Smith. However, she said police believe the sexual assault was committed by a serial rapist, whom authorities say, has committed at least seven other sexual assaults since December of 2008 at apartment complexes in Morrow, Jonesboro, Stockbridge, and College Park.
The most recent, prior incident released by Clayton County police was a woman reporting to have been raped on Aug. 22 of last year at The Woods Apartments in College Park.
"We're not 100 percent sure, but some of the things the victim told us, it's kind of like his M.O. [method of operation]," Smith said. "The only thing that we are going by is that it is an apartment complex [where the attack took place]."
Clayton County police did not release a police report of the incident on Monday. Lt. Tina Daniel, another police spokesperson, said the report was being held due to the age of the victim and the fact that the case is an ongoing investigation. However, Daniel said there was "strong evidence" to tie Saturday's attack with the string of other rapes and sexual assaults.
Daniel said that in the coming weeks, Clayton County police will be visiting several apartment complexes and hosting workshops with residents, so they can protect themselves from potential home intruders.
"We have a couple of meetings scheduled, and we are going to try to get to as many apartment complexes as we can in the next two or three weeks," Daniel said. "We are trying to get them information, so that they don't become victims. The best thing we can do right now is to arm them [with information], and that's what we're doing."
Police are advising residents to:
* Be aware of their surroundings,
* Lock all doors and windows when not in use,
* Get to know their next-door neighbors and watch for suspicious activity,
* Use secondary blocking devices on sliding windows and doors.