Reward to help solve rape increases

Published 11:45 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The reward for information leading to the arrest of a man accused of raping and beating a disabled woman has been increased to $5,200, police Capt. Bobby Stewart said Tuesday.

The investigation into the Oct. 26 assault in the woman’s home in the 2200 block of Drummond Street is still “very active,” though DNA tests have so far not resulted in a match and the previously announced offer of a $3,800 reward drew “no calls, no tips, no anything,” Stewart said.

Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers has authorized up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest, and “concerned citizens” have contributed an additional $2,700, police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

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“We are hoping for calls with information with the increase in reward money,” he added.

Investigators took DNA samples from about 12 men, Stewart said. “We have some of the results back but no viable matches.”

The rape was reported around 7 a.m. The victim was home alone when a man forced his way into the residence, police said, and after raping and beating her, he fled with a 32-inch Vizio TV.

The suspect was described as black, approximately 5-foot-11 and with a slender build and facial hair. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie and dark pants.

The TV has not been pawned or reported purchased, Stewart said. Its serial number has been registered through online and national crime prevention bureaus, Armstrong has said, and police are requesting that if anyone has purchased a TV like it, they will realize it could be stolen and come forward with information about the seller.

About two weeks after the rape, Armstrong confirmed that a break-in had taken place in the garage of the home in mid-October. The victim’s husband had surprised and struggled with an intruder, and the husband’s cell phone was stolen in the encounter, which also took place around 7 a.m., Armstrong said.

Investigators have not determined if there is a link, but Armstrong said the victim “did tell one of our investigators that (the attacker) said ‘this is payback,’ but we don’t know ‘payback’ for what.”

Victims of sexual assaults are not publicly identified.

Stewart said a number of people have been interviewed, fliers posted, news outlets notified statewide and law enforcement in other Mississippi and out-of-state jurisdictions contacted in case similar cases are being investigated.

Anyone with information may call police at 601-636-2511. The number for Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers is 888-827-4637.

“Crime Stoppers does not want your name,” Armstrong said, “just your information.”