INDIANAPOLIS — For more than a year, metro police say a sexual predator was roaming the eastside of Indianapolis, preying on older women who typically lived alone, bluffing or pushing his way into their homes and holding his victims hostage, repeatedly raping and threatening them, striking them in the face if they caught a glimpse of him, disguising his voice so he couldn’t be identified, wearing a condom and stomping to death a small dog before a fingerprint linked his name to DNA evidence left behind at six crime scenes.
Darrell Goodlow, 37, is charged with nearly five dozen counts of rape, assault, burglary, strangulation, kidnapping and criminal confinement.
Goodlow may yet face a charge related to the killing of a victim’s dog.
“There are 57 separate counts that have been filed involving eight victims,” said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears. “15 of those counts are level one felonies, which is the highest level of felony we have here in the state of Indiana. The penalty on a level one felony is 20-40 years.
“Because these are separate incidents involving multiple victims, it is the position of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office that many of these charges can run consecutive to one another,” said Mears, indicating that guilty verdicts could result in prison sentences totaling more than a hundred years.
Most of the attacks occurred on the eastside of Indianapolis, from the area near Arsenal Technical High School just outside of downtown to the vicinity of 10th Street and Arlington Avenue, an intersection just blocks away from a residence where Goodlow was known to stay and where two victims were assaulted this summer.
“The suspect frequently used a ruse of some sort to attempt to gain entry into these homes,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Craig McCartt. “He would ultimately force entry into that home or come into that home uninvited. He at least on one occasion used the ruse of being a public utility employee as he made contact with the victim.”
After that attack, Lawrence police warned residents that an intruder claiming to be a utility employee was trying to gain entry into homes.
“He was sometimes armed, he wasn’t always armed, but he would threaten these females,” said McCartt, who confirmed that investigators determined the victims ranged in age from 58 to 78 years old. “During the assaults he always kept his face covered so he could not be recognized. He then also covered the faces of his victims so then they could not always see him clearly.”
McCartt said investigators are trying to determine if the women were stalked or under surveillance by their attacker before the assaults.
The first rape occurred in August of last year.
The second attack occurred several blocks away five weeks later as three women were assaulted for several hours inside their home. The nightmare was brought to an end only when a friend called and a victim told him to contact police.
“After the second assault, we recognized that there were some similarities and eventually found that they were linked through DNA,” said McCartt. “Although we knew they were linked through that DNA, we did not know who that DNA belonged to. That DNA profile was not in the national (FBI) data base.”
Goodlow does not appear to have a criminal record, though he was named as a suspect in a 2017 eastside rape report.
FOX59 reported on the October of 2020 assaults of the three women, but IMPD did not respond to requests for additional information.
After an apparent lull, the attacks continued in the new year.
In February, a Lawrence woman reported she was raped by a man whose description and methodology were similar to accounts by the previous victims.
In June, another woman on the east side said she was attacked by a man who may have masqueraded as a tree trimmer who forced his way into her house when she turned away from her front door to retrieve her hearing aids.
Three weeks later, a woman who lived in the community where Goodlow’s mother resided told police she had been raped by a man whose description by now was quite familiar to detectives.
On September 8, a woman who said she knew both Goodlow and his mother in that same community was also raped, and Goodlow’s mother allegedly threatened her when she thought the victim gave police her son’s name.
She didn’t have to.
Detectives had a fingerprint.
“Our big break came in our most recent one,” said McCartt, “and in that one the suspect had moved a fan in the home of the victim. Crime lab did an amazing job. They lifted a print and identified the print. We were able to identify a potential suspect at that point in time, and then we were able to obtain a DNA sample from that suspect.”
Goodlow was arrested last Friday after fleeing his mother’s apartment, climbing through the attic and into a neighbor’s residence.
He declined to give detectives a statement upon his arrest.
“I hope this arrest helps our most vulnerable population in Marion County sleep more peacefully at night, and I’m referring to our grandmothers, our moms, our daughters,” said Lawrence Police Chief Dave Hofmann.
IMPD and LPD were aided by FBI behavioral profilers and genealogy and cell phone tracing resource assistance provided by Season of Justice, a non-profit agency that makes funding available to law enforcement to solve cold cases and other investigations.
FOX59 reported earlier this week that Marion County has more than 5,000 untested rape kits dating back to 2000 awaiting examination as the result of a $1.4 million federal grant given to the City of Indianapolis in late 2019.
McCartt said as detectives review previous unsolved cases or receive positive identification from rape test kits waiting to be tested, police may link other investigations to Goodlow.
“You always wonder when you have something like this, at what point did he start?” McCartt asked. “We just can’t assume that he just started last August, so there certainly may be other cases out there. Now that we have a DNA profile, we will know if there are other cases that are linked through DNA or that have other similarities that may not have DNA possible.”
IMPD has yet to release Goodlow’s mugshot in the hope that potential victims from other unknown or unsolved cases may come forward.
A relative of one victim told FOX59 that she wished IMPD would have alerted the public to a predator in her community earlier in the investigation.
“Some could have been prevented had this been on the news earlier,” she said, “because I think people would have been more alert, but then they might not have caught him.”
McCartt said detectives needed time to link the cases and find their suspect.
“We would have liked to have wrapped it up after one case,” he said, “but we had very little to go on. He made sure that he kept himself covered. Even the description we had to go on was very, very vague. There was nothing that allowed his victims to get a view of him.”
A statement issued late Tuesday afternoon by IMPD describes the struggle between full public disclosure to keep the community safe versus protecting the integrity of an investigation to remove a sexual predator from the streets.
“The interests of the victims and potential victims has been and will continue to be IMPD’s top priority when making these decisions. When law enforcement learns about a pattern of similar crimes, decisions have to be made between balancing the need to protect the public, the potential of causing unnecessary fear, and the interest in protecting the information known by the police. That is essential in both catching the suspect and successfully convicting the suspect.
“There is no clear answer. If law enforcement reveals too much information about a case, it could have a negative impact in connecting cases and-or identifying the suspect. The factors involved in these cases and the potential to release information publicly was constantly evaluated to protect the victims, helping ensure justice for the victims, and working to protect against future victims.”
Goodlow is due in court for his initial hearing Thursday morning.