Missouri City man arrested in 'Twilight Rapist' case

In this undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Billy Joe Harris is shown. Harris, 53, was taken into custody early Saturday morning, Jan. 8, 2011 after Edna police responded to a medical emergency alert from an elderly woman, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a news release. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Public Safety)

January 10, 2011 2:20:58 PM PST
A man arrested Saturday in Jackson County has been positively linked to several crimes against elderly women throughout Central and South Central Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Edna police officers early Saturday morning responded to a medical emergency alert activated by an elderly woman and found a man fleeing the residence. After a short pursuit on foot, the suspect was taken into custody.

DPS says that the suspect, Billy Joe Harris, 53, was positively linked to crimes attributed to the Twilight Rapist. Through DNA, the DPS lab was able to link the suspect to five other assaults in Yoakum, and Bell, Falls and Leon counties. Texas Rangers and local task force partners worked throughout the weekend recovering several items of evidence further linking Harris to the crimes.

"Countless men and women worked long hours on the Task Force investigating every lead in this case for more than a year," said DPS Director Steve McCraw. "As in many complex cases, these investigations turn quickly on a single incident. We are indebted to the brave victims and the Edna Police Department for helping solve these heinous crimes against defenseless elderly women."

The department says Harris lives in Missouri City and works as a non-commissioned employee for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Rosharon. Employment records also indicate he was employed by a home health care agency in Houston.

Harris is currently being held in the Jackson County Jail on a burglary charge in connection with the Edna attack.

The first known suspected attack was in Yoakum in January 2009. As many as 12 rapes, attempted rapes or burglaries in Yoakum and Luling and in rural Leon, Bell, McLennan and Falls counties through November 2009 led to the formation of an informal task force. The victims generally lived alone and ranged in age from 65 to 91.