DALLAS, Texas — A suspected serial rapist was arrested Wednesday morning in connection with six aggravated sexual assaults in Dallas and Shreveport dating back to 1980.
Police say the suspect remain unidentified until, earlier this year, he subjected his DNA for genealogical research and analysis.
Around 6 a.m., on August 19, 2020, 74-year-old David Thomas Hawkins was arrested at his Keene, Texas, residence and charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault — the first of many charges expected to be filed in the case, according to police.
Hawkins was previously convicted of felony rape in Arkansas in May 1973, entered a plea of nolo contendere, and was sentenced to 30 years confinement with nine years suspended. He was released on parole in 1977.
At the time, Hawkins' DNA was not collected and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) because his convicted predated the requirement to do so, according to police.
After his release from prison, Hawkins moved to the Fort Worth, Texas, area where he has lived, in the surrounding area, since that time.
The first suspected case in the Dallas area came around 12 a.m., on December 18, 1982. Then, the Dallas Police Department responded to a residence in the 6300 block of Shadybrook Lane where a 23-year-old female victim reported being raped.
The second rape was reported the following month, on January 3, 1983, in the 7900 block of Treehouse. This incident involved a 35-year-old female victim.
Months later, on August 18, 1983, a third rape was reported in the 5700 block of Caruth Haven involving a 25-year-old female victim.
A fourth rape linked occurred on April 27, 1985 in the 7400 block of Holly Hill involving a 25-year-old female victim.
In each case, Dallas police say the suspect broke into the victim's residence during the middle of the night, threatened the victim with a weapon, and then sexually assaulted the victims.
It wasn't until 2005 that the Dallas Police Department was able to link the four cases together and, in doing so, also identified two other related cases in Shreveport, Louisiana.
At that time, the Dallas Police Department had issued a press released informing the public about a new Sexual Assault Cold Case Program and encouraged victims of a sexual assault in the 1970s and 1980s to contact the department's Sexual Assault Unit to re-examine their case.
"As a result of this press release, the survivor from the 1985 sexual assault contacted the Dallas Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit and requested that her case be reopened," read a statement from the Dallas Police Department today. "With advances in DNA technology, the evidence collected from her case and other related cases was submitted for further testing."
The DNA testing was conducted over the next four years, between 2006 and 2010. DNA profiles were obtained from those tests and entered into the CODIS database for review — ultimately linking all six cases.
The DNA profiles did not determine an identifiable suspect, however, and investigators spent years eliminating possible suspects through DNA.
Investigators' major break in the case came this year when Hawkins' DNA was subjected to genealogical research and analysis.
After his arrest this morning, Hawkins was booked into the Dallas County Jail and is awaiting arraignment.
"The Dallas Police Department is proud of the outstanding job and joint collaboration from everyone involved in making this arrest," read a statement from the Dallas Police Department announcing Hawkins' arrest today.