HOUSTON, Texas - Rape suspect Justin Ellis was arrested at the Villas at Winkler, another senior apartment complex, on Wednesday night, Eyewitness News has learned.
In all, the rape suspect came in contact with three different police agencies before finally being apprehended.
Ellis is accused of raping an 88-year-old woman at the Brookdale West University senior apartments on June 11. On Thursday, prosecutors announced Ellis had been arrested and charged, but gave few details on how the process occurred.
Eyewitness News was first to bring you the story.
Today, Eyewitness News has confirmed that the break in the case came Wednesday at 6:50 pm., when a resident called 911 saying there was an attempted burglary at the Villas at Winkler in Southeast Houston. Upon arrival, police did not see anyone trying to break into a balcony. However, they did see Ellis walking the property.
Victor Ayers, a resident, also remembers Ellis.
"Wednesday night he was over here, walking around down through here," said Ayers, gesturing to the front of the complex.
After he was detained, the responding police officer saw Ellis' name as wanted for the rape of the elderly woman, and he was formally arrested.
"He was drinking water, and walking there in some blue jeans," recalled Ayers, who had no idea he encountered a wanted rapist.
Ellis' arrest came as a relief, but also raises questions for Sandra Gunn, whose mom lives in the complex where the 88-year-old woman was raped.
"Luckily somebody just happened upon him breaking into the other senior place or he would be still on the street."
Eyewitness News spoke with several law enforcement officials and witnesses to piece together the timeline from the day Ellis allegedly attacked the elderly woman to the night he was finally arrested.
June 11 11:30 p.m.: The 88-year-old woman was raped at Brookdale West University in her second floor apartment.
June 14 7:07 a.m.: Ellis found sleeping at Colonial Park on Byron Street at West University Place. West University Police checked his records; he had no outstanding warrants and was therefore not arrested.
June 14 afternoon: Houston Police called West University Police looking for Ellis, but by then he was already gone.
June 15: Bellaire Police got a "be on the lookout" (BOLO) request for Ellis, and he was arrested for shoplifting at a grocery store. During that time, Houston Police came to Bellaire Police and took a DNA swab from Ellis.
June 20 noon: After spending five days in jail for shoplifting, Ellis was released.
June 20 afternoon: Houston Police confirms DNA evidence, contacts Bellaire Police, but was told Ellis was released.
June 21 6:50 p.m.: Call of burglary at Villas at Winkler. Ellis was located, detained, and arrested.
In all, Ellis came in contact with West University Police at a park, spent time in Bellaire's jail while already a suspect in the rape, and was released before being arrested by HPD.
Gunn says she has questions about the process, including whether HPD or the Harris County District Attorney's Office could have charged Ellis with trespassing while waiting for DNA evidence, but wants to focus on the results.
"Doesn't sound like the process worked like it should have but the end result is what we needed, and he's locked, hopefully won't get out."
Report a typo to the ABC13 staff