(Yi-Ke Peng/WOUB)

APD Still Hunting For Sexual Assault Suspect

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The search for a suspect in three sexual assault cases on campus continues, and police are again asking for the public’s help.

Suspect SketchThe Athens Police Department posted a news release on the city’s website saying tips had “tapered off” since the announcement in January that the investigation was being categorized as the search for a “serial offender.”

More than 80 tips were given to the police department when they released information at the January press conference, at which they said a third alleged sexual assault was reported to them, and DNA evidence had linked the assault to two others reported in uptown Athens.

“The police are investigating every reported tip,” the most recent news release stated. “The police encourage people to keep reporting tips that could assist in the investigation.”

The cases were reported to have occurred on June 11, 2006, June 20, 2015, and Dec. 12, 2015. Police say the assaults occurred under “similar circumstances,” with the female victims walking home alone from the uptown area early in the morning.

The suspect is described as a white male in his late-20s to early-30s, 5’8” to 5’9”, and he weighs approximately 160 lbs.

At the January press conference, Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle asked that anyone that was in the uptown area during the late hours of Dec. 11 and early morning hours of Dec. 12 and took photos while uptown, to provide the photos to police.

But in early February, police released a statement discouraging the use of social media regarding “tips and potential perpetrator accusations.”

“Misinformation can be harmful to the investigation, slander innocent people and potentially harm the victims further,” according to the statement. “We ask that you check the official information at the City of Athens website or the City of Athens Police Department Facebook page.”

As they did in previous news releases, this week’s statement included information from police advising the public to stay alert and be “upstanding and active bystanders.”

Both the Athens Police Department and the Ohio University Police Department have increased foot patrol presence in “the uptown area and other locations of concern,” according to the release.

“(Investigations), by nature, typically take some time,” the department release stated. “We ask the community to be patient as the investigative process progresses.”

Anyone with information is asked to call (740)566-4208 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide information to a police officer or (740) 592-3313 to contact detectives. Information can also be submitted on the department’s crime tip page. Those who want to submit victim information in regards to the suspect can submit their information through the APD’s victim information form.

Crime tips can also be provided to Athens County Crime Solvers Anonymous by calling (740) 594-3331.