Reporting Stephanie Lucero
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The suspect who, police said, was behind a series of sexual assaults in southeast Dallas is waking up Wednesday morning in a Louisiana jail cell. Van Dralan Dixson was arrested Tuesday in Baton Rouge. Police tracked down the 38-year-old suspect and found him at about 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday staying at a motel out of state, more than 400 miles away.
Authorities received a tip that Dixson, a crime watch leader in his neighborhood, was traveling to Louisiana on a Greyhound bus. His vehicle was found in Garland over the weekend.
Dixson has been accused of committing nine rapes over the course of nearly three months. He has been linked to four of the incidents by DNA test results. The results from two other attacks are still pending. DNA evidence was not available in the remaining three incidents.
This is not the first time that Dixson has been accused of sexual assault. Another case against him was dropped two decades ago when his accuser was killed by a lightning strike shortly before his trial date. Dixson was then convicted of aggravated robbery in 1993 and he served more than 10 years in prison. He had also been arrested as recently as last month on a deadly conduct charge.
News of Dixson’s arrest is helping residents in the Fair Park area, where all nine of the sexual assaults occurred, breathe a little easier. One of the victims told CBS 11 News that she was “so happy” to hear about Dixson’s arrest.
That victim’s mother said that, for more than a week, she has been using a refrigerator to block the front door at night. “I would like to have a talk with him,” she said, adding that her daughter still cries while thinking about her attack. “Why would you touch my daughter and rape my daughter?”
Chief David Brown with the Dallas Police Department is set to hold a press conference on Wednesday to offer details about the events that led up to Dixson’s arrest. “I know there is a lot of questions of me, of all our decisions throughout this investigation,” Brown stated. “What I would like to do, in order to respond to each and every one of them, is take some time and have a chronology of the entire investigation.”
“There were specific things that we had done that we did not reveal to the public,” Brown added, “where it would have interferred with the investigation. And so, we want to fill in some holes and gaps.”
Police faced criticism after waiting to notify the public about this case until after the seventh rape had been reported. The first two incidents took place back in June, and there was a six-week gap until the next attack. Authorities were also questioned about their decision to release a photograph of the suspect before he had been identified by the victims in a police lineup.
Dixson had been in police custody earlier in the investigation, but authorities did not have enough evidence to hold him at that time. He did submit a voluntary saliva swab, however, which helped police link his DNA with some of the crimes.
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