The Howell County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol released a sketch Monday of a suspect accused of masquerading as an officer while making traffic stops.
The man raped one woman and stopped another who successfully ran from him, officers said.
The suspect is described as a white male, about 5-8 in height, with a stocky build and short sandy blond-brown hair. He may have scratches or injuries to his eyes and head and could be driving a light- or tan-colored passenger car, possibly similar to a Ford Crown Victoria, according to the sheriff’s department._
Sheriff Robbie Crites said a command center has been established, and area lawmen are meeting daily to work on the case. If anyone has any information about the incidents or the sketch, they are asked to call the Howell County Sheriff’s Department Tip Line at 417-293-5051 or e-mail tips@howellcounty_sheriff.com._
The first attack occurred shortly after 10 p.m. June 2 on County Road 8010, just off west U.S. 160 behind T.J.’s Restaurant. The victim was stopped by a vehicle that had a red and blue light on the dashboard and was approached by a man believed to be wearing a blue police-type uniform with badge, according to the sheriff’s department.
After a brief conversation, the woman was pulled from her vehicle and raped, according to Crites. _The second woman was stopped around 10:35 p.m. June 10 on Highway CC, five miles west of West Plains. When the victim realized a car with flashing lights was attempting to pull her over, she called law enforcement using her cell phone, according to Crites. “They asked her not to pull over until they got someone out there, but she said she was afraid she’d get in trouble so she pulled over,” Crites said.
The man opened the door and pulled her out of the vehicle, Crites said. The victim got away and began running with the suspect chasing her. Crites said the suspect took off in his vehicle after hearing sirens approaching.