Serial rape suspect appears before judge

Image 1 of 24

A man accused in a series of rapes in Clayton County appeared before a judge Wednesday morning. 

Kenneth Thomas Bowen III, 24, has been linked by DNA evidence to at least eight sexual assault cases since July 4, 2015, investigators said. Police said the attacks all happened within a two-mile radius of his Jonesboro home. 

He was arrested Tuesday by Clayton County police officer with the assistance of the U.S. Marshall’s Office at his place of employment. He has been charged with rape.

Throughout the day Tuesday detectives could be seen going in and out of Bowen's home. Neighbors were stunned to learn Bowen had been arrested. 

"I never imagined in a thousand years that it would be somebody that close to where we are," said neighbor Charlene Mallard. 

"Jitters all around. Now that I think about it and realized how close he was," said neighbor Jarquez Squire. 

Investigators say Bowen was once a police recruit with the Clayton County Police Department but was fired before he made it through the academy. They did not say why and stressed Bowen was never a police officer with the department.

The latest assault took place at the Park at Tara Lake Apartments July 28 around midnight. The 28-year-old victim told police the man broke into her bedroom window and she woke up with him smothering her. She was able to fight back and eventually get her sister, who also lived in the apartment, to help fight off the man.

RELATED: Clayton County sexual assault victims speaks out

Police released a new sketch after the latest incident with the assistance of the victims. It joined two others being used by investigators to try to track down the suspected rapist.

Bowen was once employed by the Clayton County Police Department as a recruit, but was terminated prior to completion of the academy and never was a certified member of the force, police said.

Members of the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office and the Clayton County Sherriff’s Office are being credited with assisting in the Bowen’s capture.

Bowen's next hearing is scheduled for September 24 in Clayton County.