Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson said Tuesday at a joint press conference with Talladega County Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore that investigators believe two alleged sexual assault cases taking place almost a year apart and more than 30 miles away were the act of one person.
“We have not made an arrest,” Amerson said. “But we’ve worked diligently on this case and working with Talladega County, it’s become clear to us both these crimes were committed by the same person.”
The Calhoun County incident happened last July. An 82-year-old woman told sheriff’s deputies she believed she was followed to her home near Oak Grove after shopping in Alexandria. The victim said a man threw her to the ground in her yard and sexually assaulted her.
Almost a year later on July 28, a 67-year-old Munford woman reported a man followed her home from church and said he was selling books. When the woman closed the door, he forced his way into her home, demanded money, and sexually assaulted her, Kilgore said.
In both cases, the suspect was described as a heavy-set man in his late 20s or 30s, and driving a white car.
Amerson said the two agencies have put out a national alert through the FBI to see if other similar crimes have been committed. Amerson said there have been no other similar rape cases reported in Calhoun or Talladega counties.
“We know with sex crimes, the victims don’t always come forward,” Amerson said. “And we know sexual criminals don’t do this just once or twice then stop. They do it until they get caught.”
Although money was taken from both victims, Kilgore said, the agencies are treating both cases as sexual assaults and not robberies.
“The motive was obviously not a robbery,” Kilgore said. “It’s clear the motivation was the sexual crime.”
Amerson said investigators believe the suspect had targeted the women and the attacks were not random, but so far the deputies know of no connection between the two victims.
Kilgore and Amerson said they released information about the cases to seek help from the public.
“We want people to talk about this,” Amerson said. “We want people to come forward.”
Anyone with information should contact the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office at 256-236-6600, or the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office at 256-761-2141. Anonymous tipsters can also call Calhoun County Crime Stoppers at 256-238-1414.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.