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"Person of Interest" in Several Omaha Rapes in Court

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"Person of Interest" in Several Omaha Rapes in Court

By Jake Wasikowski. CREATED Sep 17, 2013

Omaha, NE -- A man accused of rape is behind bars, and investigators believe he may be connected to other rapes in the metro.  Christopher Ennis is charged with one count of First degree Sexual Assault.  Prosecutors asked for a high bond because they say he's a “Person of Interest” in at least 2-3 other rapes.

In August 2012 a woman tells police she was walking home, then suddenly grabbed by her neck, dragged, and raped behind a building near 24th & Wirt St.  The arrest affidavit details how investigators were led to the 27-year-old Ennis.  Last week, another woman walking home is strangled, loses consciousness, put in a vehicle and taken to a remote area near 27th & Wirt St. where she's sexually assaulted.  Police find the vehicle and suspect matching the description, identified as Ennis.  Investigators see similar circumstances in other unsolved rape cases.  DNA links Ennis to the August 2012 assault, and the victim identified him as her attacker in a photo lineup.

"This is an ongoing investigation; the police are working very hard.  He's a person of interest in several cases.  We have charged him with one count at this time. We will see where the evidence leads us in terms of any other charges,” said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.

Prosecutors only charge him with the August 2012 sexual assault initially because they are awaiting DNA evidence in the 2-3 other cases.  A Douglas County Judge set his bond at $150,000 because he is a risk to the community.  His mug shot hasn't been released because other victims are awaiting a photo lineup.

"Asking for a substantial bond for a first degree sexual assault is appropriate just with one case, so certainly we're hoping that the police can put together everything that needs to be put together from an evidence perspective in the other cases," Kleine explained.

If convicted, Ennis faces 1-50 years in prison for the sexual assault charge.  His Preliminary Hearing is scheduled for October 18th, but prosecutors expect those DNA results to come back soon.