Police: Rape suspect could be involved in 35 cases
Dearborn — A Redford Township man accused of being a serial rapist may be involved in as many as 35 cases of home invasion or sexual assault in Metro Detroit, police officials said Monday.
Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad said police have DNA evidence that links Ikeie Ranordo Smith, 32, to three cases in Dearborn but they believe he could be tied to more crimes, including sexual assaults dating to 2011.
“I can’t go into the other jurisdictions’ cases, nor will I give out evidentiary information, but I will tell you there are 35 cases in our region that we suspect this person is responsible for,” Haddad said during a news conference. “We have confirmed there are three cases that involve this individual (in Dearborn).”
“I can assure you, (the suspect) will be in jail for a long time.”
Allen Park authorities have also submitted a warrant request to prosecutors. Police have said Smith is suspected in assaults in at least eight Metro Detroit communities.
“This guy is a regional predator, and he’s committed some heinous crimes in several jurisdictions,” Allen Park Police Chief James Wilkewitz said. “All of us were working together to get this guy. It’s a very proud day for law enforcement in this area.”
Wilkewitz said police in his city received complaints about home invasions with sexual assaults going back to 2011, including one last year to which Smith has been connected.
The police chief said his department Monday was to submit requests with the prosecutor’s office for charges against the suspect in two cases.
“We’re going to continue to review (our cases) to see if there are any others that might fit his M.O.,” he said. “Going forward, we may be able to tie him to others in the future.”
Lt. Ron Beggs, head of Dearborn police’s investigations unit, said authorities hadn’t identified Smith as a suspect until recently.
“One, he was careful,” he said. “Maybe a little bit of luck was involved, too. The dots were not connected right away. It was when we sort of laid everything out, we started to see some commonalities with crimes in Dearborn.”
Haddad was joined by Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and officials from several other police departments. Worthy praised Dearborn police for their role in apprehending the suspect.
“This is incredible police work,” Worthy said.
Worthy said Smith had been charged only in connection with home invasions and sexual assault in Garden City and Redford Township as of Monday.
Both Worthy and Haddad said authorities are not releasing mugshots of Smith or providing further details of his alleged crimes because investigations are ongoing and pictures of the suspect could taint future legal proceedings against him.
Last Friday, Smith was charged and remanded to jail in two cases dating to 2014 and 2016 in Redford.
In both cases, he was charged with home invasion, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. In the 2016 case, he also faces an armed robbery charge. If convicted on the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges, he faces up to life in prison.
He is due back in 17th District Court on Sept. 20 on those charges. Officials did not release details of the Redford attacks.
In Garden City, Smith was arraigned Friday on charges of first-degree home invasion, three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
He is due back in 21st District Court on Sept. 19 on the Garden City charges.
Those charges stem from a 5:45 a.m. incident Nov. 10, 2015, according to Detective Sgt. Ray Glenfield, whose testimony in court Friday detailed the attack.
Smith allegedly entered a home through an unlocked kitchen window and found his victim asleep on a mattress in the living room.
“She was awoken by an unknown black male who had a black knife,” Glenfield testified. “The suspect rolled her over on her back and said he wouldn’t hurt her if she opened up her legs. She complied.”
The woman was then repeatedly raped at knifepoint, he said. The Detroit News generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.
When the assault ended, Smith allegedly reminded the victim that he “knew where she lived,” Glenfield said. The victim waited, stunned, a few moments before waking her husband, who was sleeping in another room.
According to Glenfield, DNA from saliva collected from the Garden City crime scene matched that from a mouth swab sent to a Michigan State Police lab after Smith was arrested last week.
Further, unspecified forensic evidence links Smith to “a significant number” of other cases, Glenfield said at the time.
During Glenfield’s account on Friday, Smith’s mother began to cry and walked slowly from the courtroom, using a cane. Her sobs could be heard from a corridor outside the room.
“Stick a fork in him, he’s done,” Janet Freeman said after her son’s arraignment.
Freeman expressed no doubt her son was involved in the attacks, citing DNA evidence that Glenfield introduced.
“My heart goes out to the victims, most of all. They didn’t deserve this,” Freeman said. “I’m not going to sugar coat this. It is what it is. DNA doesn’t lie.”
Dearborn’s mayor said the suspect’s arrest demonstrates why law enforcement agencies must work together. O’Reilly said the suspect could have as many as 100 victims, including the family members of the women he sexually assaulted.
“Crime doesn’t care about borders,” he said. “We have to make sure we’re supporting each other. We’re not in isolation. We’re all in this together.”
Haddad said detectives in his department first spotted a pattern in a series of home invasions near the city’s border with Allen Park in July 2015.
Police reached out to law enforcement agencies in neighboring communities and discovered several incidents with similarities, the police chief said.
Four months later, the police departments, Michigan State Police, FBI and Worthy’s office created a task force to investigate the crimes, he said.
FBI behavior analysts classified the suspect as a “power-reassurance rapist,” Haddad said. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, power-reassurance rapists are typically characterized by feelings of inadequacy and poor social skills. They usually do not inflict injury upon their victims.
Last month, Livonia police obtained surveillance footage of a man walking through a homeowner’s backyard. Officers with the task force used the video and determined the subject could have been behind a rash of home invasions and sexual assaults, according to authorities.
“At the time we got the video, we weren’t sure what we had,” said Capt. Robert Nenciarini, commander of Livonia Police’s Investigative Division and the department’s spokesman. “We knew it might be of interest to (Dearborn’s detectives), so we gave it to them and let them run with it.”
Nenciarini added Livonia police have found no cases in which they believe Smith was involved.
Police released the surveillance footage to the media and asked the public for help to identify the suspect.
Dearborn detectives then received an anonymous tip from Crime Stoppers of Michigan, Haddad said. Last Wednesday, Dearborn police, working with several law enforcement agencies, arrested Smith.
Staff Writer Holly Fournier contributed.