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Cops Hope New Leads Will Catch ‘Teardrop’ Rapist

By Edwin Folven, 4/26/2012

Suspect Resurfaced Last Year After Six-Year Hiatus

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Police say a serial rapist dubbed the “teardrop” attacker who sexually assaulted 27 women between 1996 and 2005 resurfaced again last November, raping a 15-year-old girl near Adams Boulevard and Normandie Avenue.

Police released a series of sketches of the suspect on Tuesday. (photo courtesy of the LAPD)

Det. Jesse Alvarado, one of the lead investigators on the case for the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division, said the rapes have occurred “from Melrose to Manchester.” Police released information about the cases on Tuesday with the hope new information will surface. The suspect was nicknamed the “teardrop” rapist because many victims reported he had a teardrop tattooed under one of his eyes, a practice among individuals who formerly spent time in prison. Authorities also believe there may be additional victims.

At least one sexual assault reportedly occurred in the Wilshire Division in 2001, near Normandie Avenue and Clinton Street, just south of Melrose Avenue. Four additional assaults reportedly occurred in the Koreatown area, in the neighborhoods east of Western Avenue, and between 3rd Street and Olympic Boulevard. Nearly two dozen other attacks occurred in South Los Angeles and the surrounding areas within the LAPD’s Southwest, Southeast, 77th  Street, Rampart and Newton Divisions. Three of those incidents were reported in the Florence-Firestone area under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“The M.O. is the same in all of the cases,” Alvarado said. “Most of the victims said the suspect had a teardrop tattoo or a scar under this eye. This crime occurs very quickly, and some of the victims may not have gotten a very good look at the individual.”

On Tuesday, investigators released a series of police sketches made of the suspect over the years. Some of the sketches show the attacker with a teardrop tattoo, while in others there is no teardrop. Alvarado said police have DNA evidence linking the rapes, and added that it is possible the suspect had the tattoo removed.

Detectives have not released specific information about the crimes, but said the rapes have all occurred between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. The suspect reportedly approached the victims from behind and engaged them in conversation before brandishing a knife or gun and forcing them to a secluded area. The victims range in age from 14 to 41, with 11 victims being minors.

“Our goal is to spark someone’s memory,” Alvarado said. “It had been six years since the last one and the one last November. He may start hitting again.”

Capt. Eric Davis, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Wilshire Division, said the personnel at the station have long been aware of the “teardrop” attacker’s crimes, and added that it is a top priority to solve the cases.

“These cases are not cold,” Davis said. “They are going to be investigated, and there is no free pass. We have every confidence that eventually we will catch this suspect. They are still fresh in our minds.”

The suspect is described as being Hispanic, between 5 feet 2 inches and 6 feet tall, approximately 130 to 200 pounds, with brown hair and eyes and a light complexion. In some incidents he was described as having a mustache. The suspect has also been reported to have worn a green bandana, a dark hooded sweatshirt, a black baseball cap or a dark-colored beanie.

Anyone with information can call the LAPD’s hotline at (877)LAPD247, or e-mail tips to rhd-sas@lapd.lacity.org. Anonymous tips can also be made to (800)222-TIPS.

 

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