DNA Match Links Benitez to Lake Highlands Attacks
Ben Russell, NBC 5 News
DNA evidence links the suspect Dallas police have in custody to three attacks on women in the Lake Highlands area, according to investigators.
DNA evidence links a man Dallas police have in custody to three attacks on women in the Lake Highlands area, investigators say.
Officers arrested Cesar Benitez Tuesday, charging him with aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault in the first two incidents.
Charges are still pending in the third attack, police said.
Upon his arrest, Benitez admitted to all three incidents, police said, and his palm print had been found at one of the scenes.
On Thursday, police confirmed that a DNA sample provided by Benitez matches with DNA evidence collected from each of the three victims.
"I'm so relieved. My shoulders have dropped. I'm not crying at night. I'm just so happy that he's been found," said Lea Papanicolu, who told NBC 5 she lives five houses down from where one of the attacks happened.
Papanicolu was out celebrating her birthday Thursday night at a restaurant with her family when she spoke with NBC 5. Seated two tables away, Noel Walling said she and her family were breathing a sigh of relief since the arrest. Walling said the DNA match confirms that feeling even more.
"Everyone's feeling a little bit of relief," Walling said. "And [we're] obviously just so happy that the police acted so quickly."
Benitez is being held on $4.5 million bond.