Dallas Police Make Arrest in Lake Highlands Sex Assaults

Police arrest man in connection with series of sexual assaults

Dallas police said that a man who has admitted to three sexual assaults in the Lake Highlands area was arrested Tuesday.

Three women were sexually assaulted by an intruder in their homes in less than one month.

Police Chief David Brown said Cesar Benitez, 33, has been charged in the Feb. 22 attack and the March 15 attack.

The department said Wednesday that Benitez would also be charged in the third attack, which took place on March 19.

The third attack, which occurred on March 19, remains under investigation while police determine the most applicable charges, Brown said.

Benitez admitted to all three offenses and voluntarily provided a DNA sample, Brown said.

The police chief said investigators received an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip on March 25 with specific information about a man the tipster believed resembled one of the police sketches that were released three days earlier.

"We believe he had been changing locations pretty regularly," Brown said. "We believe he was on the run. We have some information that led us believe he was heading back to Mexico."

Dallas officers saw Benitez at about 1 p.m. Tuesday on North Central Expressway and tried to conduct a traffic stop, Brown said. Benitez exited the freeway and abandoned his car in a parking lot. Officers pursued him on foot and arrested him.

"This was a needle in a haystack for us, and they put a lot of information together, a lot of different moving parts together in order to be at the right place at the right time, and the suspect came out," Brown said.

Benitez is charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of sexual assault. He is being held on a $4.56 million bond.

The department said Wednesday that it was also preparing to charge Benitez with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault.

Police blanketed the Lake Highlands area with heavy presence after the attacks.

"The police presence has been very reassuring, and we were all very aware of it and very grateful for it," resident Nora Lundeen said.

But Lundeen said a man’s home in the neighborhood was also burglarized recently, but no arrest has been made.

“That is wonderful news -- it would be even better if I knew he’s the same guy that did the burglary," she said. "Then I’d feel a lot better."

Timeline of Attacks

Feb. 22 attack on Ferndale Road: A woman was assaulted in her home after a man broke in at about 12:45 a.m. and assaulted her in her bed at knife point. Police said the attacker entered the home through a window and was described as 35-years-old, black with bald or short hair and that he spoke with an African accent. He is estimated to be about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 180 lbs.

March 15 attack on Ferndale Road: A woman was assaulted at about 10 p.m. inside her home on Ferndale Road after a man entered the home through a window. The man was described as Latino and in his 20s with a round, chubby face and a buzz cut. He was clean-shaven and spoke English with a Spanish accent. He is estimated to be about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 200 lbs.

March 19 attack on Aldwick Drive: A woman was assaulted at about 6:45 a.m. inside her home on Aldwick Drive after a man kicked in the front door. The man is described as Latino, in his early 20s with light skin, a thin build and a thin mustache. He is estimated to be 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. The man spoke English with a Spanish accent and wore a gray hoodie and black leather gloves. Police said the man may have a scratch on his body.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

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