In the Sorority Rape Case, Trying to Help Hits a Dead End
Here's something scary. There's a guy I have bumped into several times who looks like the artist's rendering of the suspect in the sorority rapist case. I mean sort of. It's not like, "Oh, look, it's the guy!" But it could be.
When I saw the picture in the paper again this morning, I decided I had to make a call, whether I'm right or wrong. The story in the daily paper was a reprint of a Channel 8 story last night saying Richardson police had assigned an investigator to a suspicious person incident there that may or may not involve the Delta Sigma Theta rapist.
Delta Sigma Theta is a black social sorority formed at Howard University in 1913 to promote academic excellence and provide assistance to persons in need. In this very weird serial rape case, the same assailant is believed to have raped members of the sorority in three different Dallas suburbs.
Not that it means anything, but my guy measures pretty high on the weird-o-meter. I guess I won't divulge all the details of where or how I have run into him, and I have not seen him at all for a few months. But when I did encounter him, I never knew quite what to make of him.
He is a burly person with an extremely subdued manner -- seems like meds to me. He does not speak to human beings much, but he is extremely communicative with dogs, in a way I don't believe I have seen before. He goes down on his knees and does a lot of nuzzling and high-pitched whispering. Luckily, the dog I had at the time was extremely friendly. The one I have now, my rescue dog, would have bit him in the face at some point.
But even with my gentle dog, I admit I thought in the back of my mind: OK, when he's done ear-kissing my dog, this weird dude jumps up and bites me in the face, right? I kept a hand over my nose until he was gone.
He always just wandered off on his way without incident. Anyway, he looks like the dude in the artist's rendering. A lot.
So I called Richardson police this morning, their non-emergency number, and told a lady that I had seen a guy who matched the rendering. She put me on hold for a while and then came back and told me it wasn't their case and they didn't have anybody working on it.
The Channel 8 story said they did, but she said no. Then she said she would switch me to the Plano police, which is running the main investigation. Later in the morning, I called the Richardson media relations person, who told they do have somebody looking into their incident, but they have no evidence yet that that their guy is the same guy. Fair enough. At least the Richardson police. transferred me.
When Plano answered, I told them what I had, and they told me to wait. They had to switch me some more. I think I heard one more voice somewhere along the way. Then I was on hold for a long, long time. Then the call went dead.
This case does not have a perfect history in terms of the way police have handled it so far. There was some initial outcry from Delta Sigma Theta members when they learned Plano police had known of the link to their sorority in these rapes since March but only made the connection public in October.
Plano has a good police department. I'm not saying one dropped phone call tells the tale, but is this case not worth a centralized reporting system and some kind of shared protocol between the departments?
Don't worry. I will try Plano back at some point later today. I haven't seen my guy in so long, it's not like they could run out and nab him based on my description. It's also sort of unlikely my guy is their guy because of some geographical issues.
But if my little personal experience this morning proves anything, it indicates a certain lack of urgency or coordination on this very urgent and bizarre case. That seems like something that should be fixable. Right away.
Now my guy, who probably is not their guy, will see this and probably jump out from behind a fence and bite my nose off for writing about him. But that's something I watch for in most of my readers. It's why I try not to walk near fences.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.