Police identify Larry McGowan of Cleveland as serial rape suspect; crimes date back to 1996

CLEVELAND - The name of the suspected serial rapist in Cleveland was released by police Friday.

During a news conference Friday, the police department said the man in custody is Larry McGowan of Cleveland.

The rapes he's suspected of committing date back to 1996.

Police said DNA evidence led to McGowan's arrest. Two sketches had been released by detectives, which were also posted on billboards.

According to investigators, the first rape happened in May 1996, with a rape and murder the following year. The most recent attack happened in December 2010 involving an 18-year-old woman. Police said all of the incidents happened within a couple miles of each other in the Kinsman area of Cleveland.

Detectives said they canvassed neighborhoods and knocked on more than 1,000 doors over the past 18 months, showing pictures of McGowan. They caught a big break when McGowan was arrested in Akron in November in connection with a rape there. Once he was arrested, police took a DNA sample. It matched samples in evidence on the Cleveland rape cases.

After a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, Cleveland detectives finally got their man.

"I'm very ecstatic, very happy for the victims. It's been a long time for them, too. A long time coming. It's wonderful. It's a great day to know that he's finally off the street and he's been captured," said Cleveland Detective Christina Cottom.

McGowan is in the Summit County Jail on a $1 million bond.

In June, the FBI joined the hunt for the serial rapist by offering a reward of up to $10,000.

Cleveland police warned that the man was typically armed with a knife or gun.

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