CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Clayton County Police made a public appeal Friday for anyone with information about a serial rapist who has attacked at least 7 women to come forward.
At a Friday morning news conference, Major Craig Hammer of Clayton County’s Police Criminal Investigations Division revealed children witnessed two of the rapes.
Hammer told reporters this case is a top priority for his department and the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re doing everything as a police department that we can because we want this person off the street just as much as the public does.”
Hammer said investigators are diligently following all leads and interviewing persons of interest.
“Unfortunately, none of those persons have panned out to be our suspects.”
Major Hammer told reporters investigators can’t say if a rape that took place Saturday in the 7000 block of Southlake Parkway was committed by the serial rapist, but he hopes to know by next week if the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has made a DNA match.
Police suspect that rapist is the same man recently linked through DNA evidence to seven rapes in Clayton County, dating back to 2015.
Police say the rapist targets African-American females, most of whom live in apartment complexes and townhomes. The crimes have occurred between 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
In most cases, the attacker gained entry through an unsecured window, accosted the victims as they walked to their apartment, or ambushed them after knocking on their door. Police say he was armed with a gun or a knife during some of the attacks.
Police have warned women in Clayton County to be extra careful while the rapist is on the loose.
“We ask the public, specifically the females, to be very diligent of their surroundings. When you’re coming home in the evening and when you’re leaving in the evening, you need to be with a friend, your spouse, someone so you’re not by yourself”, Major Hammer said.
“In collaboration with the sheriff’s office and our agency (police department), we’re saturating the areas where these rapes have occurred. We are trying to identify any persons of interest out there that match the description that’s been given us on this serial rapist.”
On Tuesday, police officers and sheriff’s deputies canvassed areas as they tried to locate the serial rapist.
Members of the Clayton County Police Department and Clayton County Sheriff’s Office targeted the area along Highway 138, Southlake Parkway, and the Battlecreek Corridor Tuesday afternoon.
Law enforcement officers distributed composite sketches of the rapist who they have linked at least seven attacks on women.
In the Saturday rape, investigators say the man forced the victim into her residence at knifepoint and began raping her.
The rapist fled the residence when the woman’s boyfriend interrupted the attack.
With a manhunt for a serial rapist intensifying, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill has ordered his training division to conduct rape defense classes to women in Clayton County.
The classes will take place on Friday, March 15, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, March 21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, March 23, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, March 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, March 29, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The classes will be held at the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters at 9157 Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro.
Anyone who wants to register should contact Barbara Prince at 678-479-5322 or email Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org.