Bicycle-riding transient sought in five rapes

Published July 27, 1997|Updated Oct. 1, 2005

A bicycle-riding transient was charged in the rapes of five elderly women, after being linked to the crimes by DNA, authorities said.

Daytona Beach police obtained arrest warrants for Thomas Morris Franklin in connection with the rapes of the women, all of whom were between the ages of 66 and 90, going back to 1993.

Police described Franklin as a transient who rides a beat-up bicycle. He is white, with blond hair and blue eyes, slightly taller than 6 feet and weighs 155 pounds.

Investigators said chemical and DNA analysis by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab has linked Franklin to at least four of the rapes. Investigators would not say how they obtained samples of Franklin's DNA.

Law enforcement officers with the Serial Rapist Task Force were at the Daytona Beach Police Department Friday to publicize their search for Franklin. The task force is comprised of officers and investigators from Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Volusia County, the State Attorney's Office, FDLE and the local office of the FBI.

Daytona Beach Police Commander Bill Anderson said the rapes _ three in Daytona Beach, one in Ormond Beach, one in Ormond-by-the-Sea _ were all committed in single-family homes, after the rapist entered through an open window or an unlocked door. The most recent rape in which Franklin is suspected was March 10.