WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Sheriff's investigators say they have evidence linking a man to at least three different rapes where the victims were severely beaten.
The first of the rapes was in April, in Jupiter; the second in August, near Forest Hill and Military Trail; and the third January 16, on Lake Worth Road, just east of Congress Avenue.
Wednesday at a briefing at their headquarters, Palm Beach County Sheriff's detectives declined to reveal what physical evidence connected the three rapes. But, they said, all three women were alone when attacked, either at night or just before dawn. All were severely beaten.
"We want to alert the public to the violent nature of this offender," said Captain Carol Gregg of the Sheriff's special investigations division.
"This is tragic," remarked Gail Everett, who was walking her dog off Lake Worth Road, near the location a passer-by found the third victim. "People just need to be very careful of their surroundings," she said.
Told of the string of rapes, Yusmary Martinez expressed shock and disgust. "I go to work at 5:00 in the morning, and it's dark," said Martinez, who must cross her complex parking lot to reach her car. "How am I not going to go out at night, you know?"
The culprit is described as being of Hispanic or of African descent, standing between 5'2" and 5'8", and having a Spanish accent. Detectives desperately want to find the man before he strikes again, perhaps in an even more violent manner.