Two local sheriff’s offices are asking for help finding a man they say is suspected in two alleged rapes of two women, both occurring in the month of July about one year apart.
“This happened two Julys in a row, and it’s July,” said Calhoun County Chief Deputy Matthew Wade.
The first incident happened in Calhoun County in July 2012. An 82-year-old woman told sheriff’s deputies she was shopping in Alexandria and believes she was followed to her home near Oak Grove, where she was thrown to the ground in her yard and sexually assaulted.
On July 28, 2013, a 67-year-old woman said a man followed her to her Munford home from church and told her he was selling books. She tried closing her door, the woman told sheriff’s deputies at the time, and he forced his way in, demanded money and sexually assaulted her.
Wade said investigators in Calhoun and Talladega counties believe the suspect in both is the same man. The agencies have distributed sketches of the suspect based on the victims’ descriptions.
Investigators are unsure whether the suspect searches for victims only in the month of July, Wade said, but women should be vigilant when out in the public, he said.
Both sexual assaults happened in the northern parts of Calhoun and Talladega counties, Wade said, and in both, the suspect appears to have cased the victims’ homes to make sure they lived alone and in rural areas. The suspect also likely followed the victims home from different shopping areas, Wade said.
“Knowing that he’s out there and has done this, and someone else could be a victim, that is something that disturbs us deeply,” Wade said. “We want to make sure he doesn’t hurt anybody else.”
Wade said investigators checked with a national violent crime reporting system through the FBI to see if any other similar crimes could be linked to the same suspect, but no such links have been made yet.
The governor’s office has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in two rape cases.
“We want to bring attention to it so women in this county will be on guard. When you’re out shopping for groceries or at other stores pay attention. If you think you’re in danger, call 911 immediately,” Wade said.
Wade said that anyone who believes they’re being followed they should not drive home, and should call 911.
Anyone who thinks they may recognize the suspect from the two renderings is asked to call the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office at 256-236-6600 or Crimestoppers at 256-238-1414. Tipsters can remain anonymous, Wade said.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.