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Suspected ‘East Coast Rapist’ Attempted Suicide After Arrest

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Sketches of the 'East Coast Rapist' (Photo/FBI)

Sketches of the ‘East Coast Rapist’ (Photo/FBI)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Less than 24 hours after being arrested, the accused East Coast Rapist was rushed to the hospital on Saturday, as police sources say he tried to kill himself.

Paramedics rushed the man believed to be the East Coast Rapist to Yale-New Haven Hospital Saturday night after he tried to commit suicide, reports CBS 2′s Michael Herzenberg.

Police say 39-year-old Aaron Thomas tried to hang himself a day after he was arrested in New Haven. He is expected to survive, and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

New Haven police said Saturday morning that DNA evidence confirmed Thomas was the East Coast Rapist.

Authorities said Thomas, who is suspected of terrorizing women with sexual assaults from Virginia to Rhode Island over 12 years, was charged with first degree sexual assault, first degree burglary and risk of injury to a minor, 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reported.


1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney with more from the New Haven news conference

New Haven Lt. Julie Johnson, commanding officer of the special investigating unit, said DNA was collected and subsequently matched by the state police forensic lab “confirming that Thomas was the East Coast Rapist.”

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The suspect, a former truck driver, was wanted in 17 rapes and other attacks in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Local and national law enforcement agencies have been investigating the case for years. This week numerous billboards and a FBI website were created in hopes that the suspect would be recognized and caught.

A tip was developed in Virginia, where Thomas has family. New Haven Police reportedly followed the suspect, picked up one of his cigarettes butts and retrieved his DNA, WCBS 880′s Sean Adams reported.


WCBS 880′s Sean Adams details the alleged sexual assault in Connecticut

“This was truly a joint collaboration on all levels. We are proud of our investigation and hope the arrest of Aaron Thomas brings some closure to [the] victims in our communities,” Johnson said.

Among the assaults that Thomas is accused of includes a 2007 incident in which authorities said he raped a woman at a New Haven apartment complex as her 11-month-old slept in the same room.

Thomas was being held on $1 million bond. Authorities in Prince William County, Virginia, are also charging him with being a fugitive from justice as well as rape and abduction charges.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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