MUSKOGEE, Okla. (KFOR) — Twenty-five years after a series of rapes were reported in northeastern Oklahoma, officials say a serial rapist is off the streets.
On Wednesday, officials with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Muskogee Police Department announced that a serial rapist was taken into custody.
The series of rapes occurred in Muskogee between January of 1993 and October of 1995.
Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee says he was with the department when the calls started coming in to the department.
He says he was assigned to the first two cases and soon realized there was a connection. As the number of cases grew, so did the fear in the community.
“There was a fear that gripped Muskogee like I’ve never seen before,” Teehee said.
Investigators were able to develop a composite sketch, but they couldn’t seem to get closer to identifying a suspect.
Although multiple detectives worked to solve the case over the years, they continually hit roadblocks.
Even though DNA evidence was collected at the crime scenes, they could never match the DNA to a particular suspect.
“I knew that we had his DNA, I just had to identify it,” said Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge.
After consulting with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, agents turned to a company to use genealogy to find a suspect.
Two weeks ago, they learned that the genealogical data led them to 50-year-old Leroy J. Smith.
After obtaining a sample of his DNA from officials in Tulsa, authorities say they confirmed that Smith was their suspect.
Smith was arrested on five counts of rape and booked into the Muskogee County Jail.
OSBI Director Ricky Adams says he believes there is a chance there are additional victims that have never come forward.
Chief Teehee says they are aware of two other possible cases in Tulsa.
“I truly believe there will be more cases from this either from Muskogee or Tulsa,” Teehee said.
Officials say they will be seeking life in prison in the case.