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Detroit police hunting for serial rapist

Associated Press / January 18, 2011

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DETROIT — Detectives are searching for a man who they believe sexually assaulted seven women since New Year’s Day and tried to attack another, Detroit’s police chief said yesterday.

The first attack happened before dawn Jan. 1, and the most recent attack happened at 2:40 a.m. Thursday, hours before volunteers hit the streets to warn women and to circulate a sketch of the suspect, Chief Ralph Godbee said at a news conference.

“We don’t want people to be gripped by fear. . . . We’re not going to let this monster cripple us,’’ Godbee said.

The suspect is described as black, in his 30s, and about 5 feet 9 inches tall. The victims range in age from 17 to 33, the chief said.

All the attacks happened about 5 miles from downtown Detroit, and in most cases, the victims were waiting for a bus or walking to or from a bus stop, Godbee said.

Police released two new sketches of the suspect that incorporate facial details gleaned from interviews with the most recent victims.

Godbee said “critical’’ results from tests on evidence should be available within days, but he declined to elaborate on how they would help the investigation.

Nine men have been questioned and subsequently arrested for other offenses, including parole violations and gun crimes, Godbee said.

“If we stop the attacks, we’re pleased but we’re not done with our work,’’ the chief said, referring to arresting and charging the perpetrator.

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