DNA evidence leads to arrest of sex assault suspect

Samuel Henderson is charged with three counts of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault

March 8, 2010 8:35:59 PM PST
Police say a man arrested for committing a series of rapes in southwest Houston is talking, and investigators say his confessions could link him to other assaults. People who live in the neighborhood say they'll sleep better tonight, knowing someone is behind bars.

Last week, we showed you a sketch police released of the man, wanted for rapes in the Reliant Stadium area. Now they say they have DNA evidence that links a man to the crimes.

The most urgent part of the investigation is now over, but investigators wonder if there are more victims who have not come forward.

As the Botello's unloaded their groceries Monday night, there was good news after months of unease.

"I was always scared," said Gilbert Botello.

He works nights so he often leaves his wife and young daughters home alone. It was during the darkness that Houston police say Samuel Henderson struck.

"This guy was a woman's worst nightmare," said Mike Ybanez of the HPD Special Crimes Division.

Once at the Botello's apartment complex last June, three other times at other Reliant Park area complexes. According to police, he would stalk women who lived alone, break in and rape them.

"He was a rapist, he was a predator, he was a sexual predator. He informed me that he had urges he could not control," said Ybanez.

Police announced Henderson's arrest in a Monday afternoon news conference.

"Luckily for us, this part of the investigation is over," Ybanez said.

Henderson, 46, is charged with three counts of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault. He is accused in the following incidents:

  • 8300 El Mundo - about 2:55 a.m. on June 6, 2009 (sexual assault)
  • 1800 El Paseo - about 4:45 a.m. on Oct. 1 (sexual assault)
  • 8100 Cambridge - about 8 a.m. on Oct. 16 (attempted sexual assault)

A fourth incident at 8400 West Bartell at around 1:40am on Feb. 19, 2010 (attempted sexual assault) is under investigation by police.

Though they recently released a composite sketch, they say DNA testing helped them identify the 46-year-old. Investigators watched his southeast Houston home on Friday. Then made contact with a family member who also lives there. That person helped bring him in.

Tonight, no one at his home wanted to talk to us about it.

Police say Henderson has confessed to three attacks. One victim identified him from a photo lineup. He's now in jail and Gilbert Botello won't feel as anxious when he leaves the women in his life.

"It's a relief to know he's caught. We've just got to be really careful and not leave your doors and windows open," said Botello.

According to Houston police, that is how Henderson got into some of the victims' apartments - through unlocked doors and windows.

Police also say Henderson is connected to a rape nearly 20 years ago so there is concern he has possibly been assaulting women during that time. Police are asking any other victims to come forward.


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