Following a rapist’s trail

After 14 years hunting an unknown man who attacked women in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island, police arrested Aaron H. Thomas in New Haven, Conn., on March 4, 2011. Thomas, linked by DNA evidence to 12 rapes and other attacks on women, allegedly stalked areas near the places he lived and traveled as a truck driver. The last known attack linked to Thomas, on three teenagers in Prince William County in October 2009, intensified the search for a man police called the "East Coast Rapist." In March 2010, the Post presented this interactive look at the attacks and methods of the East Coast Rapist following interviews with law enforcement officials, victims and experts, as well as visits to each of the 17 known and suspected crime scenes.

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SOURCES: Washington Post interviews with law enforcement officials in Prince George's County, Fairfax County, Leesburg, Prince William County and New Haven (Conn.); interviews with five of the man's victims; police crime records. CREDITS: Research and reporting by Maria Glod and Josh White. Design and production by Kat Downs. Edited by David P. Marino-Nachison. Map by Laris Karklis. Icons by Todd Lindeman. Photos by Jahi Chikwendiu, Michael Temchine, Maria Glod and Josh White. Videos by Jason Aldag, Maria Glod and Josh White. Composite sketches are courtesy of the Fairfax County Police Department and the Prince George's County Police Department. Knife photo courtesy of the Fairfax County Police Department. Updated March 11, 2011.

From the archives

For 13 years, serial East Coast rapist has eluded police

The man studies women carefully. He watches them leave for work and walk home from the mall, and he notices whether they lock their windows and doors. He knows when they are most vulnerable, even when they are home alone with their children. He stalks them in neighborhoods he knows well. Then he rapes them and vanishes.