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Police believe suspected Akron serial rapist has more victims not identified yet

Posted: 3:38 PM, May 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-03 18:27:21-04
Smith mugshot.jpg

AKRON, Ohio — An Akron man is facing charges after his DNA was linked to multiple cold-case rape kits dating back to 2011. Detectives, assigned to a new unit investigating old sex crimes, are now investigating whether there could be even more victims.

Prentice L. Smith, 43, has been charged with multiple counts of rape and kidnapping.

A secret indictment was filed on May 21 and a warrant was issued for Smith's arrest. He's being held in the Summit County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

Last Christmas, Smith allegedly convinced a woman to get into his car and then raped her in the parking lot of a business on East Archwood Avenue.

An investigation led to Smith and his DNA was entered into a database which stores DNA profiles from sex crimes.

Detectives working on cold -case rape kits received DNA profile matches to one case in 2011 and two other cases from 2015.

In one of the older cases, Smith allegedly threatened a woman at gunpoint and then ordered her to get in his car. The victim was driven to a secluded area and assaulted, authorities said.

The indictment is the first major bust for the Akron Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (ASAKI), which launched a few months ago through a federal grant.

Lt. David Whiddon, who oversees ASAKI, believes there could other victims connected to Smith. Police are asking potential victims to come forward.

"I don't think that this is the only ones he's done. I think there's more victims out there that may have been afraid to come forward for whatever reason," Whiddon said.

Smith is scheduled to appear in court on June 12.

RELATED: New Akron cold case unit could track up to 30 serial rapists