UPDATE 3:40: During the press conference, officials announced the “East-Side Rapist” has been arrested. The East Side Rapist is believed to be the man who tried raping a UCF student in Heather Glen Apartments after using a flash light to spook her. He is being held in the Seminole County Jail at this time.
Officials said this suspect is also involved in four other attacks at the Fountains, Woodland and Watergate apartments. While this man is off the streets, there’s no indication that the UCF Parking Garage Rapist — tied to the most recent attack — has been caught.
KnightNews.com crews are still at the press conference working to gather more information, and we’ll update the story with the suspect’s picture and more information summarizing all the UCF area attacks as soon as we can. We also are working to upload video of investigators announcing this arrest to post as well.
Just before final exams a woman told UCF police she was raped in a campus parking garage. And that brutal attack came after we reported how three women — all with ties to UCF — were either raped or nearly raped earlier this year.
In the wake of these attacks by an apparent serial rapist reportedly targeting UCF students, KnightNews.com sent a crew to a press conference at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to find out whether a major rape arrest just announced by OCSO is related to any of the victims near UCF.
As of now, OCSO has released very few details, but a spokesman did point out to KnightNews.com that Sheriff Jerry Demings himself will be at the 3:30 p.m. press conference. His presence suggests the arrest is big.
“Sheriff’s Office Sex Crimes investigators will announce the arrest of a man on sexual battery charges who may be linked to other cases in Orange County involving sexual assaults,” OCSO spokesman Jim Solomons wrote in an email. “Sheriff Jerry Demings will open today’s media briefing regarding the arrest. Following the Sheriff’s opening remarks Sex Crimes Squad Supervisor, Sgt. Richard Mankewich, will provide you with a briefing on the arrest and its significance as it relates to other ongoing sexual assault/sexual battery investigations in the county.”
After the 3:30 p.m. press conference is over, KnightNews.com will provide a full recap of what we’ve learned, including whether one of the suspects targeting UCF students is off the streets, or if this arrest is instead related to other rapes away from campus.
Check back for updates on this major breaking news.