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Suspect in Fair Park Rapes Arrested

UPDATE AT 4 p.m.: The neighborhood watch volunteer suspected of raping four women in southern Dallas has been arrested in Louisiana.

Van Dralan Dixson, 38, was arrested in a motel near downtown Baton Rouge around 2 this afternoon, Dallas police announced at a press conference.

Police believe a single attacker sexually assaulted as many as nine women since June in the Fair Park area.

Police say the attacker forced victims at gunpoint into secluded areas and sexually assaulted them.

Investigators say DNA evidence has linked Dixson to four of those attacks, while test results from other attacks are pending.

Dixson patrolled streets in his neighborhood several times a week, neighbors said.

Police had obtained Dixson’s DNA last week. Soon after, he went missing. Dixson was identified as a suspect over the weekend. His car was found abandoned in Garland on Sunday.

Federal agents had been assisting Dallas police in the manhunt, and Dixson’s friends, family, and associates had been interviewed for clues to try to find him.

U.S. Marshals tracked Dixson down this afternoon. He's being held in a Louisiana jail. Dallas sex assault detectives are on their way to Baton Rouge to meet with Dixson.

At today's press conference, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said he would provide more details regarding the chronology of the serial rapist case. The department has been criticized for waiting to publicize that a serial rapist was on the loose, and for announcing that a man -- not Dixson -- was a "person of interest" in the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

UPDATE 2:45PM:  The suspect in the series of rapes in a Fair Park neighborhood is under arrest. Dallas Police are to hold a 3:30 news conference with details of 38 year old Van Dixson's capture in Louisiana.

Original story:

Dallas police have added three new arrest warrants for 38-year-old Van DralanDixson, the suspect they're looking for in the series of rapes in a Fair Park neighborhood.

Police Major Jeff Cotner says DNA test results have linked Dixson, a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer, to three additional sexual assaults, for a total of four. Nine women have been raped in the neighborhood since June.

Dixson was identified as a suspect over the weekend. His car was found abandoned in Garland. 

Meanwhile, another man whom police had identified as a "person of interest" in the case isn't happy with the label.

“It doesn’t matter if I was called a suspect or not,” Alan Mason told The Dallas Morning News. He is being held at Dallas County Jail for violating his probation on a DWI conviction, but not in connection with the rapes, the newspaper reports. “They made me a suspect in the public’s eyes. Now I feel like I’m guilty until proven innocent.”

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees keranews.org, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.