Salt Lake County law enforcement agencies hope that shared information will help them find an elusive serial rapist who is believed to have attacked 19 victims - and possibly a 20th - over a two-year period.
A task force, composed of detectives from West Valley City, Murray, West Jordan and the Salt Lake County sheriff's office, met Monday to devise a plan to share information about any future rapes - and detectives believe there will be future rapes."Oh, he won't stop," said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Virgil Johnson. "He likes it."
Johnson said the suspect's assaults have been sporadic and difficult to predict. The rapist has attacked his victims on every day of the week and at different times of the day. The man will commit two or three assaults during a close time frame, but detectives say weeks will go by without a reported incident.
"We're just racking our brains together to try to find some kind of pattern," he said.
Detectives do know that he watches his victims and waits for the right opportunities.
In most of the cases, the rapist represents himself as a salesman selling oil changes and other automotive services. He talks victims into letting him inside and then pulls out a knife and orders them to do as he says or he'll kill them, said Sheriff's Capt. Bill Van Wagenen.
In at least three of the cases, however, the man has attacked women in laundry rooms of apartment complexes.
The suspect approaches a woman alone in the laundry room and looks through dryers pretending to look for his clothing or his wife's clothing, said West Valley Police Detective Tracy Cowley.
"He then makes some sort of conversation, approaches the victim, pulls out a weapon and assaults her," he said.
In each of the cases, the physical description and the conversations he has had with the victims has been similar, said Cowley.
Detectives are sure the man has committed 19 sexual assaults of women between 11 and 43 years old. They also believe the same man may have been involved in an incident involving a 6-year-old girl but are not completely sure, Johnson said.
The suspect is described as a white male between 30 and 36 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, 200 to 220 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard and mustache.
Detectives have received several phone tips since the Deseret News and other media reported about the task force over the weekend. Anyone with information about the rapes or the suspect is encouraged to call detectives at the sheriff's office, 535-5991.