According to authorities, one suspect is responsible for the rapes of 35 women in the Los Angeles area over the last two decades; 32 in LAPD jurisdiction, three more in L.A. County Sheriff's Department jurisdiction. There are 11 different composite sketches of the same man. DNA evidence links 10 of the assaults. The suspect's victims include women between the ages of 15 and 45.
"This suspect is very unique in that he attacks the women sometime between 5 and 8 in the morning, lone females walking to work or to school, takes them into an alley and accosts them and leaves very quickly," said LAPD Captain William Hayes, commanding officer of LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division.
Each of the victims was attacked along the Vermont Avenue corridor, between Melrose Avenue and 103rd Street on the south end, and between Western Avenue and Alameda Street. The first assault occurred in 1996.
"The most recent time was June 2012, the one prior to that was November of 2011 and in that case a 15-year-old was attacked on her way to school," said Hayes.
Investigators say in both those attacks, the suspect used a beanie or hoodie to conceal his identity. His victims couldn't provide a description.
Police have referred to the suspect as the "Tear-Drop Rapist" in the past, but now investigators believe what earlier victims described as a tear-drop tattoo could be something else.
"It could have been a tear drop, it could have been a mole, a growth, or it could have been a scar, and we don't want people to just focus on that," said Hayes. "We'd like them to look more at the time frames, the behavior and the physical descriptors of the individual."
Thursday, L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry and the FBI announced a joint effort to increase the reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect from $50,000 to $100,000. The LAPD created a Facebook page dedicated to the search and will post the various composite sketches on billboards throughout the city.
"These composites were produced over a 17-year period, but the thing that is consistent is that he is a male Hispanic, he's probably between 5 foot 2 and 5 foot 6. He's approximately 130 to 170 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes, and he currently would be between 40 and 55 years of age," said Hayes.
Police say that looking at the timeline, the suspect may have taken a six-year hiatus.
Anyone with information related to the case should contact the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.