The Chandler Rapist remains loose 18 months after his initial attack and with every day he remains free the public’s worry grows.
At a town hall meeting Tuesday night, Chandler police could offer anxious residents reassurances and more reward money.
But until the man responsible for as many as six attacks is in custody, authorities admit, teenage girls and their parents cannot have peace of mind.
“It is affecting the quality of life,” Mayor Boyd Dunn acknowledged to a crowd of about 200.
Added Police Chief Sherry Kiyler: “We share the concern of the community; we also share your frustration.”
Kiyler followed by announcing the financial incentive for the arrest and conviction of this serial sexual predator has doubled to $50,000. “While money may not be the answer, we’re going to do what it takes,” Kiyler said.
For comparison, the maximum rewards reached $100,000 for the capture of the serial murderers — the Baseline Killer and Serial Shooter — who tormented the Valley in 2006.
The choice of the town hall’s venue — Andersen Junior High School — was no accident.
Three of the victims live in the surrounding neighborhood. The event was sponsored by the East Valley Tribune and KNXV-TV (Channel 15) in partnership with local law enforcement and public officials.
All the sexual assaults took place in the area between Warner Road to the north, Pecos Road to the south, McQueen Road to the east and Alma School Road to the west. The attacker has targeted girls ranging from age 12 to early teens.
The attacker is described as a dark-haired Hispanic man ranging in age from the late 20s to the early 40s, and standing between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-10. He speaks fluent English, but with an accent, according to witness descriptions.
During a question-and-answer session, residents peppered the police with inquiries about what the authorities are doing and what can be done by parents and children.
Stay alert, the police told attendees, and if someone or something doesn’t look right, let us know.
One parent, Debra Navarro, demanded to know why there isn’t more of a police presence when her 13-year-old daughter arrives at Andersen for morning cheerleading practice.
Replied Lt. Vance Lunt, who heads Chandler’s investigations unit: “Just because you don’t see patrol cars doesn’t mean we’re not in the area.”
Eleven-year-old Angel Hunt asked what girls can do to protect themselves.
To that end, the police offered training in a self-defense class called RAD — Rape Aggression Defense. About 15 students signed up.
“If a child is fighting back, it’s definitely going to benefit them,” said Angela Harding, whose 11-year-old daughter, Amber, will take the class. “They have more of a chance of getting out of it than if they didn’t fight back at all.”