DNA identifies suspect in multiple sex assaults in Houston since 1992

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - DNA evidence has helped idenfity a suspect in multiple sex assaults in the southeast Houston area since 1992, according to Houston police.

Investigators say Herman Ray Whitfield, 43, is charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Police say Whitfield committed sexual assaults in the Sunnyside area of Houston from 1992 to 1994 and again from 2006 to 2009. His victims ranged in age from 12 to 30.

"He was very violent in his assaults. He would choke his victims. Sometimes he would use weapons. Or if he didn't display one, he would let his victims know he had one," said Sgt. John Colburn, with the Houston Police Department.

Three of the victims were school students, according to investigators.

"He would watch girls going to and from school," Sgt. Lauren White of the HPD Juvenile Division said. "So a lot of them (assaults) happened before and after school."

The assaults occurred on trails, and in bushes, vacant lots and vacant houses in the Sunnyside area on the following dates and locations:  

  • Dec. 15, 1992 - 4300 Alvin
  • Feb. 16, 1993 - 4300 Alvin
  • Aug. 30, 1993 - 4400 Wilmington
  • June 11, 2008 - 4300 Wilmington

In February 2013, HPD received two matches from two cases entered into the Combined DNA Index System and determined there were similarities in the area where they occurred and the manner of the assault. After additional similar cases were located, evidence from those cases was entered into CODIS and police say a profile was then developed that matched Whitfield.

Whitfield is currently an inmate at the Byrd Unit in Huntsville. Investigators say they obtained a DNA sample from him and he was positively identified in the cases.

Investigators believe there may be other victims and urge anyone with information to contact either the HPD Juvenile Sex Crimes Unit at 713-731-5356, the HPD Sexual Assault Information Line at 713-308-1400, or email them at SAinfo@houstonpolice.org.

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