DNA Links Plano Man Arrested in 2011 Sexual Assault Cold Case to Three Other Attacks

The arrest, which was made in cooperation with the Arkansas State Police, was connected to a sexual assault case from 2011

NBC 5 News

A man arrested in connection with a sexual assault cold case in Plano in 2011 has been linked to three other attacks, one dating back to 2003, according to court documents.

In a probable cause affidavit obtained by NBC 5, Plano detectives said DNA evidence led them to 48-year-old Jeffrey Lemor Wheat.

Plano detectives were investigating a sexual assault that took place on April 2, 2011 where the victim said she was awoken by a man in her bedroom that had placed his hand over her mouth.

The woman told police she bit the man's hand and that he reached for a pillow, bleeding on the case. The woman said when he picked up the pillow she feared for her life and tried to calm the situation by talking with the man during the assault.

Plano Police Department
Detectives arrested Jeffrey Lemor Wheat in Arkansas on Jan. 11, 2021.

She said the man revealed that he was around 40-years-old, entered through an unlocked window and that he knew her name. She said after the assault, he ordered her to shower in the dark. She said the man knew her name, seemed educated and clean, had a beard, was Black and said he had been married without children. The victim added that her attacker showed remorse after the assault and said he'd never do it again.

The woman told police she tried to get the man to leave through the front door, but that he went out a backdoor that led to the backyard.

When police arrived, investigators took the pillowcase into evidence and a DNA profile was obtained from the bloodstain, police said.

On April 6, 2011, the victim received a phone call from her attacker where he apologized for what he had done. Police traced the call to a Chevron Food Mart at 1320 Gross Road in Mesquite and obtained video footage showing someone walk to the phone and then later leave the area.

Separate crime bulletins regarding sexual assaults received from the Coppell and Corinth police departments on Sept. 15, 2011 and Oct. 14, 2011, respectively, were noted for similarities to the Plano case. Detectives said the assailant in the Coppell case made similar statements and knew the victim's name. DNA extracted from the semen taken from the victim in Coppell matched the DNA found in the bloodstain on the Plano victim's pillowcase. DNA extracted from the semen taken from the victim in Corinth matched both the DNA in the Coppell and Plano assaults.

Police said the DNA obtained in those three attacks matched the DNA of a suspect in an attack in Arlington in 2003.

In the complaint, detectives said genealogical research, online records searches, social media research and interviews led them to develop Jeffrey Lemor Wheat as a suspect in the attacks.

On Nov. 12, 2020, detectives spoke to Wheat's ex-wife who confirmed he was the father of her child. Wheat's ex was shown the 2011 video from outside the gas station and she said she was sure the man in the video was Wheat after recognizing "the walk, his shoulders, his height and that he had glasses."

A DNA sample was taken from Wheat's child and those samples were sent to a DNA lab that said the suspect's sample from the crime scene "cannot be excluded as the possible biological father."

Police said Wheat was arrested Jan. 11, 2021 in cooperation with the Arkansas State Police and was transferred to the Collin County Detention Center where he is being held on a $500,000 bond.

In the affidavit, police said Wheat's ex-wife thought he was working for Brinks Security customer service in 2003 -- the same security company used by the victim in the 2003 attack. Wheat's ex-wife said she thought he was working for Fiserv, a financial services company, in 2011. Detectives said the victims in the 2011 attacks all were associated with an organization that utilized Flagship Merchant Services, a credit card company powered by First Data Independent Sales which was a company later purchased by Fiserv.

According to police, the investigation remains ongoing by the Plano Police Crimes Against Persons Unit.

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