Police pursue fugitive crime-watch volunteer charged with 4 rapes in Dallas neighborhood

Dallas police have sought help from federal agencies in pursuing a suspect in a two-month series of sexual assaults that has an inner-city neighborhood living on edge, officials said.

Three new arrest warrants were added Monday to one issued Saturday for Van Dralan Dixson, police Maj. Jeff Cotner said. Each warrant charges the 38-year-old crime-watch volunteer with aggravated sexual assault. DNA test results linked Dixon him to four attacks in the Fair Park neighborhood southeast of downtown Dallas, Cotner said.

DNA test results are still pending from two other attacks, while DNA evidence from two other attacks was unavailable, he said.

Dixson's car also was impounded after it was found abandoned in Garland, a northeastern Dallas suburb. A warrant for a police search of the vehicle was pending Monday, Cotner said.

Dallas police said Monday night that DNA evidence linked the crime-watch volunteer to four sexual assaults in a Dallas neighborhood where at least eight rapes were reported over two months, with more tests pending.

Police had taken Dixson into custody briefly last week and obtained a DNA sample from him but lacked evidence to bring charges at that time, Cotner said.

Police are interviewing friends, family, other associates, his employer and tipsters for clues to Dixson's whereabouts, Cotner said.

State criminal records show Dixson was arrested and convicted of aggravated robbery in 1993. But he was also arrested as recently as last month on a deadly conduct charge, according to Dallas County records.

County records also show that he filed for divorce three years ago, and it was finalized a few months later. A judge awarded Dixson custody of the couple's three children, who are now 21, 8 and 6.

Dixson's attorney during the divorce, Tiombe Jones, said Monday that she didn't remember anything particular about Dixson or the divorce proceeding. Messages left on a cellphone listed for Dixson's ex-wife were not immediately returned.

As a crime-watch volunteer, Dixson would patrol the streets several times a week, neighbors said.

"He just walks every night, all night," one resident, Billy Washington, told Dallas television station WFAA. "Every time I would look out my window, or out my door, he was walking."

Dixson has been part of the area's neighborhood crime-watch group, the Mill City Community Association, since January. The group's president, Alendra Lyons, didn't return messages Monday from The Associated Press.

The group said Dixson's duties were limited to telling neighbors about the association, not patrolling at night — but neighbors told The Dallas Morning News that he was referred to as "neighborhood watch," and it seemed he was patrolling the neighborhood almost every night.

Authorities have said they believe one suspect committed the nine sex assaults that have been reported in the Fair Park area this summer. In each, the attacker approached his victims in the early morning hours, forced them to secluded areas nearby, and then robbed and sexually assaulted them.

The assailant in each case was armed with a handgun, wore shorts and a T-shirt, and masked his face using various types of cloth, according to police. The victims said they were approached on foot.

A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and an indictment in the cases.