DEVELOPING: More charges filed against suspect in rape cases - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

DEVELOPING: More charges filed against suspect in rape cases

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Channel 3 has learned that another charge has been filed against the suspect involved in two rapes in Chattanooga.   Chattanooga Police have filed another charge against Derek Caldwell in connection with a rape that occurred back in October.   

We will continue to update this story as more details become available. 

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UPDATE:
Derek Caldwell's arrest is a chilling reality for one Red Bank woman.

“I could have been one of those victims,” she said.

That's because she says Caldwell has been caught looking through her windows not once, but twice.

“When my neighbor was watching out for me, he actually saw him and called the police,” she added.

She's asked Channel 3 not to use her name but says the first incident happened about two weeks ago when she noticed her cat acting strange.

“She actually jumped at the window and clawed at it like there was some kind of predator or somebody bad out there,” she said.

She looked outside and just inches away from where she sits, she made the chilling discovery.

“I saw him just standing there,” she said.

She says Caldwell continued to stand outside her window while she was on the phone with dispatchers waiting for police to get there. She says Caldwell took off before police could catch him.

A week later, police arrested Caldwell outside her home for Criminal Trespassing after a neighbor caught him in the act again.

“I am very thankful that I have family that lives close to me and live around me and keep an eye on things,” she added.

Hours after Caldwell got out of jail is when police say  he raped two elderly women. It's something Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol says is frustrating.

Probably one of the most frustrating things for a police officer is to hear the circumstances of this. We had him, we had him. What if?”

Caldwell now sits behind bars at the Hamilton County Jail on a $450,000 bond.

UPDATE:
The man accused of raping two women last week was released from jail one day before the first victim says she was raped.

Derrick Dewayne Caldwell, 30, is charged with two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated burglary.

On Dec. 3, the week before the reported rapes, Caldwell was arrested by the Red Bank police department and charged with criminal trespassing. 

Police reports say Caldwell was caught looking into a neighbor's window, and looking into the woman's car in her driveway.

The neighbor called police, and Caldwell was caught hiding behind the house. The neighbor told police it was the second time he saw "this same black male was on her property and the same incident has occurred."

The police report says "there is also probable cause to believe a theft or burglary was going to occur."

The victim is a woman in her 50s who lives alone at the residence. She told police she did not know the suspect, Derrick Caldwell.

Caldwell was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing, since he did not enter the home. He had a court appearance on Dec. 8th where he pleaded guilty to the charge. He was sentence to time served.

Caldwell was released December 9th. 
 
The next day after a woman in her sixties says a man broke into her home and raped her.
     
She describes her attacker as a black male with braids, wearing black pants, a black jacket, and the same orange socks issued in jail.
     
The suspect broke into her home by smashing a window pane and unlocking the door. The suspect cut himself in the process and left blood behind.

"Probably one of the most frustrating things for a police officer is to hear the circumstances of this," said Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol, "We had him, we had him....what if, what if?"

A second woman reported rape the day after, on December 11th.
     
The victim was another woman in her sixties and she says a man matching the same description raped her.  
    
The victim says the man broke into her home and told her he had a knife.

Two days later, Red Bank police arrested Derrick Caldwell a second time.

"He was asleep inside a laundromat here," Chief Christol said, "They had already told him he couldn't be there so the appropriate charge on that was again criminal trespass."

He was also found with a marijuana blunt blunt in his jacket pocket and charged with possession of marijuana.

He pleaded guilty to both charges on Dec. 15th and was sentence to time served, plus a $250 fine.

Chattanooga police detectives interviewed Caldwell the next day, Dec. 16th, after learning his description matches the description given by both rape victims.

Caldwell told police he went to stay with his mother after he was released from jail. Caldwell's mother said she had not seen her son in more than two weeks.


 


PREVIOUS STORY: A suspected rapist remains behind bars on a $450,000 bond in connection to two separate attacks that took place over the weekend.

Derrick Dewayne Caldwell, 30, is charged with two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated burglary.

Caldwell had only been out of jail one day on a charge of criminal trespassing before allegedly raping his first victim.

In fact, police said he was still wearing his jail-issued orange socks when the rapes happened.

Red Bank police picked him up Saturday on charges of possession of marijuana and criminal trespassing. Chattanooga investigators said he matched the physical description provided by the victims. Police interviewed Caldwell and found enough evidence to charge him with the crimes.

The attacks happened late last week in two separate Chattanooga neighborhoods. Both victims were women in their 60s.

In one case, the woman said she was attacked when she went to her bedroom and saw a man "rise up" from the other side of the bed.

The other victim told police the suspect broke into her home and grabbed her around the neck and shoulders. He told her he had a knife before raping her.

Caldwell told one victim he "does not try to do these bad things," according to the affidavit.

After the attacks he reportedly told the victims that he used to play high school football. However, he said his mother made him quit because of his grades were suffering. He also said his father was dead, and that he too would soon be dead. He had similar conversations with both victims, according to the affidavits.

Police said there is not evidence to show the victims knew Caldwell before the attacks. DNA was collected from Caldwell and will analyzed and compared to evidence from the crime scene.

Caldwell told police he was with his mother at the time of the attacks. She told police she had not seen her son in weeks.

He is expected to appear in court Dec. 22 before Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck.

Timeline of Events
12/3: Arrested for criminal trespassing
12/9: Released from jail
12/10: First reported rape
12/11: Second reported rape
12/13: Arrested by Red Bank Police for possession of marijuana and criminal trespassing
12/17: Interviewed by Chattanooga Police and charged with aggravated rape




PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga police are working to identify the rapist responsible for attacking two women inside of their homes, last week. Both victims live in different neighborhoods and are over the age of 60. Investigators say both victims described the suspect as a black man around 5'-9" with braids. Officers say they're working to develop a sketch of the suspect or suspects.

"It's a very scary thing to think about going on in our community," said Caroline Huffaker, Chattanooga Rape Crisis Center. "Unfortunately these are conversations we as a community, us as an agency, law enforcement, our nurses, the DA's office and members in our community should all be engaged in because it's really important if we're not talking about it then we're not addressing it."

While stranger rapes account for only one out of every four rapes reported Huffaker says it's best to be prepared with an emergency plan.

Chattanooga police officer Ronald Zirk who also runs the self defense business "Zirkops" tells Channel 3 anyone can learn to protect themselves.

"Your size, weight, physical condition, age does not have anything to do with it," said Officer Zirk. "It's about being prepared."

Zirk says the first step is safety proofing your home. For some homes that might mean putting in an alarm system, motion lights or simply posting signs outside that read there are "cameras in use" and/or a neighborhood watch system in place.

"If someone enters on one end of the house and you can hear them, then grab your phone call 911 and make your way through the house locking doors behind you so there's more barriers for the person to get to you," said Zirk.

Huffaker says even though the victim is never to blame, one of the best preventative actions is a "check in" system with a trusted family member or friend.

"What we want people to realize even if you do everything right and something happens you are not the one to blame," said Huffaker.

Rape Crisis counselors say there is an Android and i-Phone app called "Circle of 6" that will send emergency text messages to friends or call police if you do not arrive at a designated place by a certain time. In addition, officers say all cell phones will dial 911 whether they are in or out of service.

If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, there are resources to help. Last year, Chattanooga's Rape Crisis Center served a total of 303 victims.

Those victims received everything from hotline support and crisis counseling, to emotional support and safety planning. All services are confidential and at no cost to the victims. Counselors say thanks to new technology, physical evidence can now be collected up to 96 hours after an attack with no pressure to make a report.

If you need help, the crisis hotline number is 423-755-2700, and is available 24-7.

The rape suspect is described as a black man, about 5'9 with braided hair. Police are advising anyone who sees any suspicious behavior or any possible suspect that may be related to this incident to call 9-11 immediately.








UPDATE: Chattanooga police are issuing a public safety announcement after two women in their 60's were reportedly raped.

Police say the attacks happened last week in the Hixson and Brainerd areas but aren't sure if the two are connected. So far, no arrest has been made.

Channel 3's investigation began after receiving a news tip. Chattanooga police then confirmed they'll be in those areas actively searching for any suspicious activity. They're encouraging anyone with any information to come forward.

Investigators say while both victims live in different neighborhoods, both reported they were attacked last week inside of their home. 


Even though the description is very vague, they were able to tell police the attacker is a black male with braids, between 5'9" to 6 feet tall..

"It's scary to men, women, families that's probably somebody's worst fear or one of them," said Caroline Huffaker, Chattanooga Rape Crisis Center.

Huffaker tells Channel 3 stranger rapes are rare, they account for only one out of four rapes reported.

"Unfortunately what we see with elder abuse not just isolated stranger rape incidents but elder abuse in general is that it is a vulnerable population," said Huffaker.

While 55 percent of all victims typically do not report sexual assault that number drops even lower to only 30 percent reported in the senior community.

"They may fear that people won't believe them you know somebody is going to discredit them or be disbelieving of them," said Huffaker.

The two sexual assaults last week happened within 48 hours of each other but were reported to police over the weekend. Officers say they're working several leads trying to determine if the sexual assaults are connected.

Chattanooga's Rape Crisis Center Partnership Empowering Families, Children and Adults located at 300 East 8th Street in downtown Chattanooga has a 24-hour-crisis hotline. 

Huffaker says with new technology evidence can now be collected up to 96 hours after an attack. She says while seeking help and testing immediately is preferred, contrary to popular belief showering and bathing does not in every case effect evidence testing. 

The Crisis center Evidence collected is stored and protected for prosecution. Victims are not required to report to law enforcement prior to receiving services. Nurses can offer medications to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases (infections).

All examinations are free and confidential for both men and women. Last year alone, the crisis center accepted nearly 200 new clients and 468 hotline calls.

"They don't have to go through this alone there's a whole support network of people who are waiting standing ready to help all they have to do is call," said Huffaker.

Officers say they will be in the area actively searching for any suspicious activity.

Police are advising anyone who sees any suspicious behavior or any possible suspect that may be related to this incident to call 911 immediately.

The number for the 24-hour rape crisis hotline is 423-755-2700. For more information visit Partnership Empowering Families, Children and Adults






PREVIOUS STORY: Channel 3 has confirmed that the Chattanooga Police Department is investigating two separate rapes that may be related.

The incidents occurred in the Brainerd and Hixson areas, and the rapes took place in their homes. Both victims were female and over the age of 60.

Chattanooga police are not releasing many details for the concern of the victims, such as specific geographical information and their exact ages.

Investigators are working on multiple leads in both cases to determine if the two incidents are related.

Information provided by both victims describe a black male, between 5'-9" and 6'-0" ft tall with braided hair.
 
Police say their investigation continues, and ask that anyone who might have information regarding these suspects please to call (423) 698-2525.  

If anyone sees any suspicious behavior or any possible suspect that may be related to this incident please call 911 immediately.


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