By HILARY ROXE, The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) -- A serial rapist, suspected of sneaking into homes and assaulting at least eight victims, the youngest just 7 years old, has been stalking neighborhoods close to where another serial rapist preyed on women and girls for more than a year, authorities said.
Miami-Dade County police officials said Sunday they had made no arrests in the latest attacks, and they asked for tips from the community.
DNA testing has connected a single attacker to the Nov. 28 rapes of two girls, ages 7 and 8, as well as three other rapes, police said. He also is suspected in three other sexual assaults and an attempted attack.
Authorities said the rapist sneaks into homes through unlocked doors or open windows, typically armed and with his face covered. Most of the attacks took place in the Liberty City neighborhood northwest of downtown Miami, a few miles (kilometers) from where the other serial rapist struck.
In the earlier attacks, Reynaldo Elias Rapalo, 32, was charged in September with raping seven women between the ages of 11 and 79 in the Little Havana neighborhood. Police said DNA tests had linked all those assaults to Rapalo, who has been jailed without bail since his arrest. His trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in February.
Authorities are publicly urging Miami residents to call police with any information about the latest rapes, noting that Rapalo was caught because intense publicity led residents to be alert for unusual activity, said Ed Griffith, spokesman for Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.