Authorities have made a connection between at least two cases where women were picked up in Omaha and sexually assaulted in Iowa.
The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Thursday that DNA evidence connects two of four assaults with one suspect. Omaha police believe a fifth assault may have occurred on this side of the river.
“Of the four assaults that we believe are related in our side of the river here, two of them were positively linked through DNA evidence,” said Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker.
The crimes were brutal. A man picked up a woman in Omaha, took her to River Road just north of Council Bluffs and sexually assaulted her. It's a pattern that has occurred over a two-year time frame, often during daylight hours and all a stone's throw from Interstate 29.
Omaha police believe the same man struck again this past Monday near 24th and Spencer. “She was actually walking about five o'clock in the morning when she is grabbed by this male and forced into his vehicle,” said Omaha Police Lt. Darcy Tierney.
The 31-year-old woman was taken to a city lot near 11th and Locust and sexually assaulted. The suspect has now committed felonies on both sides of the river.
It's not like the old days when criminals could commit a crime in one jurisdiction and simply cross a county or state line and be in another jurisdiction. Now law enforcement works together to go after and capture those criminals.
“Anytime that we have a crime that happens we try to see if there's any similarities with any others that have been occurring," said Lt. Tierney. "In this case we did notice that there were a lot of similarities with the cases over in Pottawattamie County,” said Lt. Tierney.
Police are looking into at least four cases from December 2008 to June of this year, but DNA only links two of those cases. "Any adjoining jurisdiction, whether it's across a state line or a county line, you have to work together because criminals are very mobile,” said Sheriff Danker.
The attacker is described as a 45-year-old white male, 5-foot-6 and between 200-250 pounds. He has a brown mustache and was driving a small, older, four-door red vehicle.
Anyone with information concerning any of these crimes is asked to contact the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Department or the Omaha Police Department.