The first attack began as a robbery, turned into a carjacking, and ended in sexual assault and arson.
Police say that Van Dralan Dixson approached a man as he stepped behind a South Dallas building to take a leak at about 4:45 on the morning of June 22. After the man handed over his money and ran away, Dixson took his car and the woman inside. He allegedly raped her inside the car, then set it on fire.
The eight sexual assaults Dixson is suspected of committing in the area around Fair Park over the next two-and-a-half months -- four of them so far linked to him by DNA evidence -- followed a different pattern, according to details released by police Wednesday evening.
In each case, Dixson would approach a woman on the street in early hours of the morning, between about 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., then force her to perform oral sex while he held a gun at her head. Sometimes he would demand money first. In one case, the victim was with her two children, ages 15 and 9, before the kids were shooed away. In another, there were two women.
Police announced Dixson as a suspect on September 5. They arrested him at the Alamo Plaza Motel in Baton Rouge after a five-day manhunt.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Louisiana prosecutors suspect he arrived at the motel, a two-mile walk from the Greyhound station, because he'd run out of money. He paid for two nights at the motel, then asked to do odd jobs to pay for additional nights.
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Dallas police released the new details, including a timeline summarizing the attacks and the department's response (see below), as they continue to deflect criticism that they acted too slowly.
"I chose the best path that gave us the best chance to arrest, charge and prosecute the suspect," Brown said at a news conference Wednesday evening. "Pick your poison. ... damned if you do, damned if you don't."
For the moment, Dixson remains in a Baton Rouge jail on a $5 million bond. He is expected to be extradited to Dallas soon, where he will face sexual assault charges. The last time that happened to Dixson, two decades ago, the victim was struck by lightning and died before he could go to trial, according to CBS 11.