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Emory Police working to thwart sexual assault suspect | Crime

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Emory Police working to thwart sexual assault suspect
Crime, News
Emory Police working to thwart sexual assault suspect

DECATUR, Ga. (WXIA) - DeKalb County Police and Emory University Police are working together to investigate a series of attempted sexual assaults near the school's campus.

There's no doubt, students on the campus of Emory University are on edge. But really the entire neighborhood should be on the lookout for this man, because if the four attacks are connected, the suspect as preyed on women within a two-mile radius, and his attacks are growing more violent.

Students on campus are walking in groups, and looking for a suspect seen in a police sketch.

The attack on Emory's campus may have been the last of four, but each one has grown increasingly violent. In December, a student walking home says she was grabbed from behind, one arm between her legs, the other around her neck. She was able to get away. But then, twice in January, police say the suspect was able to get close enough and long enough to two other women to sexually assault them. One did not come forward until news of the rape a few days later.

"It was at this point that we began to believe that these cases may be connected," said Mekka Parrish from the DeKalb County Police Department.

The suspect is described as a white man, in his early 50s. Former FBI agent Harold Copus finds the description unsettling.

"When you get into your 40s, 50s, that's strange," he said. "That's rare. It also makes him dangerous."

Copus says it's highly unlikely the suspect has just now turned to a life of crime.

"Now, we've had a trigger, and he's started back," Copus said.

He says the first three attacks were warm-ups - chances to learn from his mistakes. Copus worries that if the suspect is not captured, what will happen next.

"It's like a heroin addict," Copus said. "The first time he takes that needle, it's the best he'll ever have. So the next time he has to take two shots to get the same effect."

Copus says the suspect is likely an underachiever with about a 10th grade education. He says the suspect is a loner who has trouble with relationships.

Emory Police said they have added shifts and approved overtime to increase patrols.

Crime, News