Dallas police are searching for a man they say is linked by DNA evidence to a sexual assault case in South Dallas.
Sunday, Dallas police said in a statement that 38-year-old Van Dralan Dixson, identified by police Saturday as a suspect one of the nine sexual assault cases believed to be connected, has left his children in the care of family members and that his car was found in a Garland parking lot.
Dixson has, at this time, only been implicated in one of the cases. Police said they are waiting on more laboratory tests to be returned in the other cases.
Also on Sunday, NBC 5 reporter Ray Villeda confirmed that Dixson was part of a neighborhood crime watch. The Mill City Community Association said Dixson's duty was to inform other participants of future meetings.
Dixson has a long criminal history, with charges of aggravated robbery and even aggravated sexual assault. Sources familiar with his criminal record, tell NBC 5 he was arrested for deadly conduct, for pointing a gun at someone, just four weeks ago.
NBC 5 learned that, at the time, Dixson used an address on Oberlin Drive, where neighbors said he hasn't lived for at least two years.
“He is still getting mail here, from lawyers, my girlfriend was sending it back,” explains David Lewis. He now lives at the home.
On Sunday night, we broke the news to Lewis and his old neighbors; telling them about the arrest warrant out for Dixson.
“It’s a surprise to know it’s someone I know,” said Lewis. A sentiment echoed by many neighbors.
Lewis said he was in the neighborhood several months ago.
“He seemed like a pretty nice guy, raising dogs, selling cars, making money off of it. Had a business head like he was doing real estate, he moved, he use to come by here frequently,” he said.
Equally shocked was Dixson’s grandmother. Over the phone, she told us Dixson was a father of four, worked at a Plano warehouse and went to church. She added that he had been in trouble in the past but was doing good by his children, even taking them to Sunday school.
State Fair of Texas Concerns
With a rapist on the loose in South Dallas, fair organizers tell NBC 5 the State Fair of Texas already has plans in place to make sure attendees are safe.
There will be more surveillance cameras this year; a plan already in place before the rapes took place. Every year, Dallas police and fair organizers meet to finalize security plans. A spokesperson said the rapes will definitely be brought up and discussed.
Safety in South Dallas is already making some concerned about showing up to the fair. One mother told us usually she reassures her daughter every year they’re going to the fair, however this year may be different.
“This year, I don’t know if I can say, ‘Yes we are’ (going),” said Henrilyn Fennell.