MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – The Riley County Police Department and the Lawrence Police Department held a press conference Thursday morning on an ongoing sexual assault investigation dating back to October of 2000.
In March of 2009, former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six announced that multiple incidents of rape committed over the course of eight years in both Manhattan and Lawrence appeared to be connected. These incidents occurred beginning in October of 2000 and ending in December of 2008, and they involved the victimization of 14 women and ultimately two communities, as all those subjected to these crimes were students of either Kansas State University or the University of Kansas.
Police say each incident involved a masked intruder entering the victim’s off-campus residence, mostly between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. as the victim slept, and all but one coincided with a break in the academic calendar. The residences themselves varied from apartment complexes to duplexes to single dwellings. While the point of entry was frequently identified, the means by which the suspect made entry were sometimes unknown. Many of the victims reported having locked their door(s), yet there were no signs of forced entry. There were also indications that victims were watched and observed by the assailant prior the incident. In all but two cases, the victim was alone.
The assailant was typically described as a white male between 5’9” and 6’0”, with various descriptions of build and estimations of weight and age. We have no confirmed description of the assailant from anyone other than the victims. In most cases a handgun was displayed, which the assailant threatened the victims with as a means to gain compliance. While the physical violence of the assailant was usually limited to the rape itself, these were all very violent acts carried out by an assailant who did so in a cold, calm, calculated manner.
Police said even before Six’s announcement, Riley County Police and the Lawrence Police were working closely to determine if these cases were related, and our joint investigation ultimately established that sufficient similarities, and a lack of significant dissimilarities, existed between the incidents to conclude that they were likely committed by the same suspect.
Police say on July 27, 2015 in the early morning hours, an unknown assailant entered a residence in the 1400 block of Watson Place in Manhattan with the intent to commit a sexual assault against the female resident, a student attending Kansas State University. A lengthy investigation into the incident has led police to conclude that there is a high probability that the assailant is the same assailant from the previous cases. In 2015, he was described as a white male, approximately 5’10”, and heavier set, most noticeably around the stomach and thighs. The prominent stomach was a frequently mentioned characteristic from previous cases. As for age, we believe the assailant was at least 33 years old at the time of the 2015 incident based upon the date of the earliest case.
Police believe the 2015 case and the previous cases are connected.
To aid in focusing attention on these cases and assist in providing information to identify and apprehend a suspect, police have dedicated a website, www.kansascollegerapist.com.
Anyone with information relevant to this investigation can visit the site to see the options for contacting us. We also encourage people who want to provide tips to call Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777 or toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). SMS Text tips are also accepted by sending a text to “CRIMES” (274637) and starting the body of your message with “TIP353.” Webtips are also accepted by visiting Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers online or www.RileyCountyPolice.org.
We want to stress that the survivors of these attacks are our primary concern. Our work is not done until we can declare with certainty that this assailant will never again pose a threat to our communities.”
Authorities have also contacted Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Kirk Thompson to brief them on the status of the investigation.