Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cold Cases of Rape Solved: Kansas City Serial Rapist 's DNA Links to Decades Past

Modus Operandi: Women from age 16 to 51 were asked for money, then assaulted by a gunman who targeted women outdoors. The man, "Devotion Baker" is already doing time (story and picture below); the Jackson County special cold case unit methodically works through "thousand of old, unsolved sex crimes year by year" according to the Kansas City Star.
 (The Unit has been very successful using new technologies to solve old cases, but their funding is now ending.  Funding story HERE)  excerpt: 
By CHRISTINE VENDEL  "Since its inception, the Kansas City police department’s cold case sex crimes squad has cleared 141 cases, identified 25 possible serial rapists and arrested at least seven of them — including the man suspected of being the Waldo rapist.But the velocity and volume of its heralded work soon could slow to a crawl. Grant funding is expiring and could run out as soon as next month, though police hope to stretch the money through April. ...fewer detectives will be sifting through the nearly 1,400 sex crime cases known to have evidence dating back to 1981."

His mother must have named him Devotion; how much hope she must have had for him!
  Sadness Alert: The stories--
Here is what the Star story tells us about his method of operating:
"In the 1987 cases:
•Two victims were attacked as they returned to their apartment buildings at 506 E. 44th and 516 E. 44th streets. The rapist pointed a gun at one victim as she retrieved her mail and grabbed the other as she fumbled for her keys in her purse.
•A 16-year-old girl was attacked after she arrived at a friend’s apartment building at 4021 Walnut St. with a sack of groceries.
Two of those victims were raped and left on the ground in alleys and one was raped and left in a wooded area.
A college student was surprised by a stranger while in a car with her boyfriend in the parking lot at 45th and Oak streets near the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She told police a man knocked on her window, pointed a gun at her and her boyfriend and forced her boyfriend into the trunk. The gunman then repeatedly sodomized and raped her in the vehicle and said “Have a nice day” before walking away. She freed her boyfriend from the trunk.

In the 1994 case, police said the suspect broke into a woman’s apartment. The 51-year-old victim was watching television in her living room in the 4100 block of McGee Street on Aug. 20 when a stranger appeared. She screamed, and he punched her in the mouth. He pulled her necklace tightly around her neck and asked her where her money was. He ransacked her home looking for valuables then raped her while threatening to hit her with a large stick."

I know these stories are terrible to read. But- without knowing the stories, how can everyone work to change this abomination?
Here is how the victims reacted to the news:
"The victims received news of the charges with mixed feelings, said Detective Janna Eikel.
“They were very excited we had found someone, but most of them started crying because they have to re-live everything.”
Baker denied knowing or ever seeing any of the five victims, according to court records.
(as usual)

The highlighted case above, of a college student with her boyfriend, serves to warn that just being with another person is no guarantee of safety.

While this blog has many stories of our own friends, coworkers, and students being attacked, (including by the Manhattan Serial Rapist,) it is important to read at least one major newspaper to see how common this crime is. When you read the comments from men who feel most rapes are "made up"  (HERE and HERE) you can see clearly the need for increased education.

Being raped by a stranger has a whole set of terrors and trauma; being assaulted by an acquaintance has another set, well articulated by this K-State student in court.

Take care of each other.

picture by janet

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