NBC 5 News
Dallas Police Chief David Brown held a news conference Wednesday to detail the series of events in the investigation of a series of sexual assaults in South Dallas.
The Dallas Police Department released a timeline of events that lead to the arrest of a South Dallas crime-watch volunteeer, whose DNA is linked to four rapes.
In a news conference on Wednesday night, Dallas Police Chief David Brown addressed the public about the series of events in the investigation of nine sexual assaults that occurred in the South Dallas area beginning in early June through early September.
The following timeline was provided by Dallas police to provide further understanding about the investigation and what lead authorities to the arrest of 38-year-old Van Dixson.
June 22, 2013 Victim survivor #1 4600 Metropolitan 4:45 a.m.
The first offense believed to be part of these series of sexual assaults was reported and occurred on this date. In this offense, the victim survivor was given a ride in the car by a male who stated he believed that he would be offered sex for pay from the victim. Prior to any discussion of this type, however, the male told the victim he needed to urinate and she directed him to a nearby building. After exiting the vehicle, the male was approached by the suspect who produced a gun and demanded money. The male was able to escape the suspect and flee the scene. After robbing the male, the suspect forced the victim survivor into the vehicle and drove off in with the victim inside. The suspect then committed the sexual assault. The suspect then set the vehicle on fire, burning it, and then fled the scene.
Both the male and the female victim survivor contacted the police department to report the incident. The female victim survivor of the sexual assault declined medical treatment and did not want to submit to an exam to gather evidence of the assault. The female victim provided the reporting officer’s with erroneous contact information, which prevented sexual assault detectives from conducting any further investigation. After September 3, 2013 when it was determined that this victim survivor might have been the first of a series of sexual assaults, Southeast Division Deployment officers conducted an extensive search to locate her for follow-up the investigation. This victim survivor was located and scheduled an interview with detectives on September 6, 2013. The victim survivor did not show up for the interview and has not responded to repeated attempts to schedule a new appointment.
June 30, 2013 Victim Survivor #2 4100 Malcolm X Blvd. 2:00 a.m.
The second offense occurred and was reported on this date. The victim survivor and a female friend were leaving a nightclub when they got separated and the suspect approached the victim and committed the assault. The victim survivor received medical treatment at Parkland Hospital and evidence of the sexual assault was collected. The victim survivor in this case was first interviewed by a Sexual Assaults detective on July 8, 2013 and again on September 6, 2013 after it was determined a related series of attacks had occurred. DNA evidence from this offense was linked to suspect Dixson on September 9, 2013.
It should be noted that when detectives conduct follow-up interviews, they are working to guarantee that sufficient information is obtained to ensure the victim survivor of a sexual assault is able to see justice served with the apprehension and successful prosecution of their attacker. These interviews are typically scheduled at a date and time most comfortable to the victim survivor to ensure the least amount of trauma for the victim survivor. Forcing a victim survivor to participate in an investigative interview too soon could result in unnecessary trauma as well as incomplete or inaccurate information being gathered to assist in the investigation.
June 30, 2013- August 20, 2013
During this time period, no further sexual assaults were reported from which to base a suspicion that a serial offender was committing assaults.
August 20, 2013 Victim Survivor #4, #5 4300 Spring Ave. 2:30 a.m.
Offenses 3 and 4 occurred and were reported on this date when the suspect approached two victim survivors that were walking down the street together and sexually assaulted both of them at gunpoint. Both of the victim survivors were treated at Parkland Hospital and evidence kits were collected. One of the survivors was interviewed on August 23, 2013; however, the other victim survivor could not be contacted based on the original contact information. Detectives were eventually able to obtain good information and the victim scheduled an interview on September 3, 2012 as this was the earliest date she was available.
DNA collected from these offenses was positively linked to suspect Dixson on September 9, 2013.
August 22, 2013 Victim Survivor #6 2800 Warren Ave. 5:45 a.m.
The fifth offense occurred and was reported on this date. The victim survivor was at a bus stop when the suspect approached her, presented a gun, directed her to walk behind a building, and then robbed and sexually assaulted her. The victim survivor was treated at Parkland Hospital and an evidence kit was collected. From August 23, 2013 to date, detectives have attempted to contact this survivor multiple times by phone, postcard or email with no success. A friend of the victim survivor has been asked to pass a message to her. It is believed that she has moved to another city and has not been interviewed as of this time. Results from the evidence kit are not yet available for this offense.
August 27 - 30, 2013
During these dates a Southeast Patrol Division and the METRO task force unit began to respond to the sexual assaults in the area. Uniformed and covert patrols were assigned to the area on the 30th. These patrols focused on the area where the assaults had been reported and conducted during the times the offenses had occurred.
At the time that additional patrols were initiated, detectives had only been able to interview 2 of the 5 reported victims (offense #2 and #4). This made it extremely difficult for the detectives to definitively announce that a serial offender was responsible for all of the offenses reported in this area. The first two offenses had occurred 8 days apart and then no other offense was reported in the area for 50 days. This further complicated establishing a definitive link between the offenses.
August 30, 2013 Victim Survivor #8 3200 Meadow St. 5:45 a.m.
The sixth offense occurred and was reported on this date. The victim and her two children (f/15, m/9) were walking to a DART station when they were confronted by the suspect and robbed at gunpoint. The suspect told the children to leave and took the victim survivor to another location where he sexually assaulted her. This victim survivor was treated at Parkland and an evidence kit was collected that resulted in a positive match to the suspect on September 7, 2013 the first match linking suspect Dixson to the crimes. The survivor had to cancel two interviews, but was able to meet with detectives on September 9, 2013.
September 1, 2013 Victim Survivor #9 3800 Spring Ave. 4:15 a.m.
The seventh offense occurred and was reported on this date. The victim survivor was walking from work when approached by the suspect, robbed and sexually assaulted. This survivor was treated at Parkland and an evidence kit was collected. Results of this kit are not yet available.
September 3, 2013
The Crimes Against Persons Sexual Assault Unit completes its assessment of reported sexual assaults in the South Dallas Area and believes sufficient cause exists to announce the presence of a serial offender in the area to the public at large.
A press conference is scheduled and the announcement is made. In determining the proper timing for such an announcement, multiple factors must be reviewed. These include whether or not victims have been interviewed and do the interviews bear out the existence of a serial offender, the need to capture the offender without alerting him, the necessity of the community to be alerted for public safety, the likelihood of additional trauma for victims due to the public pronouncement, whether or not the announcement will deter or encourage other victims to come forward and ensuring criminal cases will not be jeopardized by the announcement. The Police Department recognizes that the timing of such announcements is critical and has reached out to the community and victim advocates for feedback to continue to make these decisions in a timely and informed manner.
A task force consisting of the Sexual Assault Unit, Southeast Patrol, Fusion, Sex Offender Registration Unit, Physical Evidence, Metro Unit, Robbery Unit and Property Crimes Unit is created and begins to meet daily.
September 4, 2013
A Crime Stoppers tip is received at 8:06 a.m. on this date that leads the Department to Van Dixson as a person of interest. The Metro Unit locates Dixson around 7 p.m. and he consents to an interview by a Sexual Assault detective at Police HQ. The interview lasts slightly more than 2 hours. Dixson provides a DNA sample via buccal swab and is transported home. He voluntarily consents to a search of his residence and car for weapons. At the time he remained a person of interest.
Victim Survivor #7
An eighth offense is reported after the victim survivor hears about sexual assaults through the news media. The victim survivor reports that the attack occurred on August 28, 2013 at 11:30 p.m. at 2600 Second Ave. The victim survivor was accosted at gunpoint and dragged to a vacant lot where the offense occurred. No medical treatment or evidence kit was performed due to the delay in reporting the offense. The victim was interviewed on September 5, 2013.
Members of the Task Force meet and continue following up on Crime Stopper Tips, reviewing sex offender registration records, following investigative protocols and conducting uniformed and covert patrols of the South Dallas area.
September 5, 2013
Victim Survivor #3
The ninth offense is reported on this date when a Neighborhood Patrol Officer handing out informational fliers was approached by a victim survivor that stated she had been assaulted sometime between the dates of July 24-31, 2013 at 2700 Morning Ave. between the hours of 4:15 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. No evidence kit could be collected due to the time that had passed. Detective interviewed the victim on September 5, 2013.
Around 12:16 p.m., the Department receives information that leads to identifying Alan Mason as a person of interest in the case. An anonymous tipster stated the individual needed to get out of town because he had done something wrong, that he drove a vehicle similar to the one described by victim survivors, wore the same type of glasses described in the intelligence bulletin and drinks all day and night. Efforts begin to locate Mason who has an outstanding warrant for a DWI probation violation. After approximately 11 hours of attempting to locate Mason as a person of interest without success, an announcement is made to solicit public participation in finding him. Chief Brown tweets Mason as a person of interest at 11:45 p.m. Difficulties with the Police department’s communication provider delay the Public Information Office announcement concerning Mason until 12:04 a.m.
September 6, 2013
Mason is located in Arlington around 3 a.m. He is interviewed by detectives prior to being placed in jail on the outstanding warrant. Mason provides a DNA sample via buccal swab. He is currently in the Dallas County Jail on unrelated charges of probation violation on a DWI.
Around 7:30 p.m., Van Dixson’s employer comes to the Northeast Division Patrol Station to report that Dixson had not been at work for two days, which was uncharacteristic of him. The employer stated that he had called Dixson’s aunt and she told him that Dixson had come to her home late Wednesday (9/4) night, left his children with her and stated they would not see him again for a long time. A Northeast Division officer notified one of the sexual assault detectives who relayed this information to the Metro Unit. Metro attempted to locate Dixson with no success.
September 7, 2013
At approximately 9 a.m., the Department is notified of a positive DNA match linking Van Dixson to the offense that occurred on August 30, 2013. Elements of the Task force begin the search for Dixson. Warrants for Dixson’s arrest and for the search of his home are prepared and signed around 3 p.m. When Dixson’s vehicle information is entered into NCIC, it is determined that his car had been towed from a parking lot of a Garland, TX McDonald's as an abandoned vehicle. Surveillance footage from the area shows Dixson parking the vehicle and leaving it at 7:59 a.m. on September 5, 2013.
The search warrant is executed at Dixson’s home in the afternoon.
The Task Force begins to canvass family members, friends and associates of Dixson to determine his location.
Shortly after 5 p.m., the Department announces that Dixson is officially a suspect in one of the sexual assault cases.
September 8, 2014
ICE notifies the Department that Dixson may have crossed the border and entered Mexico near Laredo. Later reports from ICE indicate that Dixson may have re-entered the country. These reports are preliminary and based on agents recollections after seeing a photo of Dixson.
September 9, 2013
Members of the U. S. Marshals North Texas Task Force develop information suggesting that Dixson may be in the central Louisiana area. The U. S. Marshals Middle Louisiana Fugitive Task Force is notified and requested to assist.
Additional DNA results are provided to the Department positively linking Dixson to 3 more of the reported sexual assaults.
September 10, 2013
Suspect Van Dixson is located in a motel in Baton Rouge, LA and placed under arrest by the Marshals’ Middle Louisiana Task Force.
Dixson is interviewed and makes a statement that links him to one of the two remaining sexual assaults where an evidence kit was obtained but processing for DNA evidence has not concluded. This leaves only one remaining case where an evidence kit was obtained that is still being processed for DNA evidence. Once it is completed, Mason can be positively excluded as a person of interest if there is no link discovered.
June, July, August 2013
In the South Dallas area where the nine sexual assaults have occurred, there are twelve crime watch groups. Five of the groups conducted meetings in all three months of this crime spree, and one group held meetings in June and July. The other six groups were inactive during this time period. Southeast Patrol Division Neighborhood Police Officers attended each of these meetings.
At all crime watch meetings, officers are expected to provide crime statistics to citizens to make them aware of the offenses occurring in their neighborhood. We believe this did take place in each of the meetings and are working to confirm this belief. However, crime stats would typically be focused on the specific area served by the crime watch and might not provide a picture of the larger area.