A Georgia police service has been looking for a serial rapist for years.
Then they found their suspect among their own police recruits.
Kenneth Thomas Bowen III, 24, was linked by genetic fingerprints to seven rapes and a battery of sex women in Jonesboro, about 30 miles south of Atlanta, said Kevin Roberts, chief of the police department, on Wednesday. Clayton County, at a news conference.
All assaults took place in an area of 3 km radius where Bowen resides.
Investigators believe that he could be responsible for other similar sexual assaults in the same area, but have no scientific connection with him, police said.
Since 2015, "our agency is investigating a series of sexual assaults and rapes that are clouding our community," Roberts said. "Today, I have the pleasure of removing this cloud."
Bowen joined the Clayton County Police Academy in June 2018 and was fired in September of the same year. Roberts stated that he had fired the recruit because he had arrived one day late for training and had lied about where he was. "On arriving, he made several statements that differed as to where he was and who he was with, and I found that it was untrue and a reason to dismiss him from our academy," he said. said Roberts.
The police chief stated that no aggression Bowen is accused of occurred during his three months at the Academy.
Lt. Thomas Reimers of the Criminal Investigation Division of Clayton County Police stated that some of the information provided by Bowen during his request for an academy had been used to identify him as being the alleged serial rapist.
"In fact, if he had not tried to join the ranks of the Clayton County Police Department, one might wonder when we would have apprehended him," Roberts said.
The investigators also relied on the stories and descriptions of the witnesses and victims to try to find Bowen. At least three sketches based on these descriptions matched Bowen's appearance, Reimers said.
The victims were "real survivors," Reimers said. "Without their contact with the police department to provide intimate details about the assaults, we would not have been able to get a sketch of this individual or this individual's sketches."
Investigators also reviewed past 911 calls to try to put a suspect in contact with areas where sexual assault had occurred. It was at this point that they did not stop to fall on Bowen's name, which led them to examine the cell tower's archives to better locate his fate. They also became aware of Bowen's social media profiles, which led them to determine that he was related to someone who was previously working for the Clayton County Police Department.
Along with the police, the Clayton County Sheriff's Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab and the Clayton County Attorney's Office have identified seven more suspects over the years, but dismissed them on the basis of DNA evidence.
"We have a team that has been working very hard for several years to resolve this case," said Reimers.
A warrant for Bowen's DNA was obtained last week and it matched the eight assaults on Tuesday. He was arrested by American marshals at his job the same day.
Bowen was "calm" when he was arrested, but he refused to talk to the authorities, Reimers said. He appeared for the first time in court Wednesday morning and is currently incarcerated in Clayton County Jail on seven counts of rape and one count of sexual violence. It was not clear right away if Bowen had a lawyer.
Reimers said the victims who had been informed of Bowen's arrest were "ecstatic".