Authorities investigating a serial rapist preying on students at Kansas’ top two colleges say there is no composite sketch of the attacker who has eluded them since 2000.
So, they said Monday, don’t trust the sketch that’s going around.
“There is a composite being shared saying it is a sketch of the KS college rapist suspect,” read a tweet by Riley County police that was posted on Twitter about 2 p.m. Monday. “This is not true. There is no sketch in this case.”
Lawrence police posted the same tweet an hour later.
Officials with Riley County and Lawrence police announced Thursday that they needed the public’s help in finding the rapist, who is linked to 14 attacks — 12 rapes and two attempted rapes — from October 2000 to July 2015. Nine of the crimes occurred in Manhattan and involved students at Kansas State University, and five involved University of Kansas students in Lawrence. All of the attacks were off campus.
During the Thursday news conference, authorities linked the July 2015 case in Manhattan to the rapist. Before then, the last known attack connected to the rapist was in December 2008 in Lawrence.
In the days since that conference, investigators have received several tips and expect more in the next few days, said Hali Rowland, a Riley County police spokeswoman.
With the new information last week came the mix-up with the sketch. Rowland said Kansas State had released a composite sketch in 2009 in an unrelated attack. While covering the serial rape case, a national media outlet erroneously connected it.
“Some national media picked it up and assumed it was related,” Rowland said. “There were people on social media also sharing it as well and several media outlets.”
Authorities have said the man connected to the 14 attacks wore a mask that covered everything but his eyes.
All but one attack took place during academic breaks, such as summer or holidays. Most occurred between 2 and 4:30 a.m.
The rapist is described as a white male, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a prominent stomach and large thighs. The man is estimated to be in his mid-30s.
Authorities created a website asking for the public’s help. The site, www.kansascollegerapist.com, allows people to read information about the crimes and to provide tips and assistance to help solve the case.
An anonymous donor has provided a $10,000 reward for information leading to the rapist’s arrest and prosecution.