FBI profile says rapist may strike area again

Published: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 12:37 a.m.

Composite sketch of the suspect.

Although a sexual battery happened in a quiet northwest Gainesville neighborhood nearly two months ago, police want the public to remember it because an FBI profile indicates the man may live in the area - and he may strike again.
A 78-year-old woman was attacked in her house off NW 43rd Street and 16th Avenue just after 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 when a man knocked on her front door and then kicked in a side door when she refused to let him in, police said.
Just two hours earlier, a man tried to break into a woman's house in the same neighborhood but she jammed the sliding glass door and he couldn't get in, said Gainesville Police Detective Wendy Schreiber. Police believe the two cases may be related.
They also believe a person who would commit such a violent crime against an elderly person has specific characteristics the public could watch out for.
After being assigned this case, Schreiber contacted an FBI agent who recently gave her the results of a study they had done on suspects who committed sexual offenses against elderly people. Most of the suspects came to the scene on foot and lived in the neighborhood, Schreiber said. They scoped out their victim before the attack but the victim probably didn't know them.
Ninety percent of the suspects had a prior criminal history, mostly for burglary and theft, Schreiber said. Most abuse drugs or alcohol and are underemployed or undereducated.
Someone who sexually batters an elderly woman might live with his mother or grandmother or another maternal figure, Schreiber said. Their crimes are likely to be brutal and motivated by rage or sadistic intent. The elderly woman represents an authority figure that the attacker wants power over, Schreiber said.
Anyone who knows the attacker might have noticed a change in his behavior since Nov. 10, Schreiber said. The man may have skipped work or may show an unusual interest in the case.
The Nov. 10 attack was a brutal one, Schreiber said. The woman suffered significant injuries and still suffers health problems from the attack. But she is resilient and has spoken out to groups, Schreiber added.
But because the FBI profile showed the attacker may be a very brutal person who could live in the neighborhood, police want to remind the public to be on the lookout.
"Until the suspect is identified and arrested, he may be in the area and there's a concern he may re-offend," Schreiber said. "We're hoping the information given will make someone recognize someone as a possible suspect we can take a look at."
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at 338-3109 or ciotolk@ gvillesun.com.

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