Suspect in serial sex assaults of teen girls could strike again: Police
Police are anxiously searching for a man who is believed to have sexually assaulted two teenage girls and may have targeted two others in several Noord-Brabant villages. All four cases involved a balding white man in his late thirties. No arrests have been made.
"We are very concerned and we need to find this man before he strikes again," police from the Oost-Brabant district told the public on Wednesday. The two assaults took place in Casteren and Hulsel, with the other suspicious incidents happening in Netersel and Reusel. Fewer than ten kilometers separates the four villages.
The white, male culprit is reported to stand from 1.70 to 1.75 meters tall. He has a bald head, trimmed facial hair and a beer belly, and looked to be in his mid-to-late thirties. The car involved in each case appeared to be a five-door blue station wagon, most likely an Opel Astra of a model dating from between 2004 and 2010, which is kept clean and is in good condition, the police have said.
The first assault took place on March 25 between 6:10 and 6:50 p.m., with an 18-year-old from Casteren saying she was attacked by an unknown man on the Wagenbroeken. Her case was investigated, but no arrests were made and no link was established with any other cases until seven weeks later when the second attack took place.
On May 15, police responded when a 13-year-old girl was assaulted on the Molendijk in the nearby village of Hulsel. "The perpetrator pulled her into the bushes at a sheltered place along the road, where he gagged her. He took the girl to a pond about 50 meters away. Two passers-by heard the girl scream and came to her rescue," the police said in a statement.
Without going into detail in the Casteren incident, police said, "there were several similarities between the two cases, so that the criminal investigation department suspects that the perpetrator was one and the same."
Police first asked for witnesses to help solve the second assault within hours of the attack. In the days that followed, they heard two more accounts which sounded eerily familiar.
On May 6 at about 5 p.m. a 17-year-old said a man followed her while she walked from neighboring town Bladel to Netersel. She crossed a dirt path where a man was standing next to a blue Astra. He stalked behind her but made no attempt to grab her, and she safely arrived at her destination. "She felt that the man was after her and might be waiting for his chance to strike," police said. The description of the man and the car matched that of the other two attacks.
The same was said of the vehicle used by a suspicious driver who overtook a young woman walking in Reusel on May 14 between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. After the car passed her, it slowed down stopped, and then waited for the woman to pass by again, which frightened the woman.
"It seems that the man knows the area quite well and that is why we suspect that he lives in the area or comes there regularly," police said. "He appeared somewhat clumsy in his actions. He portrays someone who probably does not know how to deal with women and who may struggle to make contact with women in everyday life."
Officers are urging members of the public with any information on the matter to come forward.