This past year has seen a veteran Westside robbery officer lead an impressive, persistent effort to take two serial rapists off the street.
These individuals were responsible for at least 20 sexual assaults – that we know of – in three jurisdictions.
The officer’s lieutenant highly praised her “tenacious investigative efforts” that put the suspects behind bars in less than a year after they both evaded detection for a number of years, one of them for more than a decade.
Westside Robbery Lt. R. L. Anderson Jr. said Senior Police Officer Kimberly Miller first undertook a robbery-related sexual assault case and turned it into an even more energetic crime-solving endeavor.
What became two dynamic investigative exercises involved three police agencies and “an army” of HPD personnel – all working together as a team.
Miller’s efforts zeroed in on two serial rape files involving two individuals known to employ two different creepy, often violent techniques to overpower their victims.
Ultimately, the officer got a confession from the second suspect.
Two Evasive Rapists
The first suspect we will call Brown in order to distinguish him from the second defendant. As you will learn, we will use the real last names of the men ultimately arrested and charged. Please note that their names were not known in the earliest stages of the elaborate investigations.
Generally speaking, Brown confronted his victims on apartment premises, knocked them down, sexually assaulted them and fled with property, usually a purse or phone.
The Department’s Special Victims Unit generally handles sexual assault cases, though sometimes other units get the call.
Since robbery was involved, Westside robbery investigator Miller got the nod.
As Miller learned, Special Victims had the first case involving Brown which was more violent than her first case, which entailed digital penetration.
The second suspect we will call Bond. He was always armed and mysteriously entered women’s apartments without leaving a sign of entry. Usually he surprised his victims when they discovered him lying in bed next to them.
Miller called his technique “the boyfriend method” since he stayed with his victims after sexually assaulting them.
“One time he even stayed and watched a movie with one victim after he assaulted her,” Miller told the Badge & Gun. She said Bond thought he was building relationships, not committing violent acts.
Although different, Brown and Bond had one common trait that stood out – as Anderson pointed out: “They were very, very good at not being caught by the police.”
First, let’s discuss suspect Brown. He struck often, usually in Southwest Houston apartment complexes. Like too many rapists, he very likely committed more of these violent acts than police know about.
Anderson said Miller “worked this tirelessly. She was the driving force behind a small army dedicated to whatever she wanted. Westside Tact is one of the best I’ve ever seen. They do a lot of heavy lifting for us.”
Putting Pieces Together
What the lieutenant didn’t tell you was that the effort started from the top when he gave Miller the go-ahead to take charge of an investigation that entailed not just one event but what she found to be a series. This represented a somewhat unique police maneuver since it involved more sexual assaults than robberies.
The first robbery/assault case happened April 22, 2015 at an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Lakeside Estates.
Miller quickly found a similar case in the same complex that matched the actions of the suspect in her case. This similar case happened April 1, 2015. The complainant was blitz attacked by a suspect, who beat her with a pistol, sexually assaulted her, and then fled on foot.
“Officer Miller contacted Special Victims Division and informed the investigator their cases may be related,” Anderson explained. “She contacted the complainant in her original case and requested they walk the scene of the incident together.”
Miller made walk-throughs a standard procedure with each of the growing number of victims she questioned. Some cooperated, others refused.
Since these initial assaults on her radar screen had a common venue, Miller knew from experience that the attacker likely lived in the same complex or at least spent lots of time there. But he also went to other locations for other assaults, as she determined.
Anderson said the suspect began to strike with “frightening regularity.” On May 15, 2015, he struck three times within 24 hours at three different locations.
All told, suspect Brown was found to be involved in seven attacks between April 1 and May 16. Special Victims handled two which entailed more violent vaginal rapes and Miller five – oral sex or digital penetration and one attempted sexual assault case.
The investigators got DNA evidence in three cases, one of which was Miller’s.
Miller coordinated the team effort. She coaxed reluctant complainants and witnesses to meet with HPD’s nationally recognized sketch artist, Lois Gibson.
The officer also put together a press conference to release the composite sketches of the suspect and implored anyone who had information to come forward, especially those that may be victims who had not reported what happened to them.
Because of this media exposure, two apartment residents came forward and stated they witnessed one of the sexual assaults.
A DNA Bingo!
Sure-fire results came in from the technicians at CODIS, the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System. As police know, if you pick up the DNA of an unknown suspect and it matches what CODIS has, you have a BINGO, especially if the match identifies the suspect.
Miller got a Bingo!
The DNA sample she gathered came from the T-shirt of one of Brown’s victims who was forced to submit to oral sex. It was sent to CODIS in April.
Then, last June 11, the Houston Forensic Center called Miller and told her CODIS hit on her evidence. The DNA came back to suspect Lemann Cory Brown, who had been arrested in February 2015 on a domestic violence charge.
It seems Brown had a girlfriend in the same apartment complex where he struck at least two times.
Miller developed information that Brown was linked to a woman whose mother owned a vehicle that had been stopped near the apartments on Lakeside, the scene of the first two cases involving this suspect.
As the lead officer’s luck would have it, she was attending in-service school when she got word of the CODIS match. So she called “the other Kim.”
Officer Kim Frederickson, a crime analyst in the Special Victims Unit at 1200 Travis, “was monumental in helping me, digging and tracking down this guy,” Kim Miller asserted. She also later emphasized that she, as always, got plenty of help and advice from her fellow Westside Robbery investigator, Officer Jeff Miller. Miller, as many know, is married to Kim Miller.
They tracked Brown to the Lakeside location. Miller engaged Westside Tact to begin immediate surveillance of the apartment complex.
Upon reflection, Miller smiled and said, “We found out who this guy was and had him in custody within seven hours!”
Special Victims ended up with DNA matches to Brown in two of its cases. And so one of Houston’s serial rapists was off the streets.
Lt. Anderson put things in perspective:
“Suspect Brown was stopped for a traffic violation and was found with two pistols in his possession. In addition to being charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, Brown was charged with three counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault and one count of Aggravated Robbery.
“He currently resides in the Harris County Jail with a NO BOND due to the investigative efforts of Officer Kim Miller.”
Our story doesn’t end with just one serial rapist behind bars.
We now come to the account of capturing serial rapist number two.
As so often happens with an ongoing investigation, other policing agencies looking into similar situations want to compare notes.
In May 2015, detectives from Jersey Village contacted Miller to make a comparison of their suspect to Brown. They said they had DNA evidence that connected their suspect – whom we will call Bond – to similar sexual assaults in St. Louis County in Missouri.
Miller determined that these attacks were not related to the Brown case.
For one thing, the MOs were miles apart. With Anderson’s approval and the staunch support of Sgt. David Helms, Miller coordinated a multi-jurisdictional investigation.
She now had two serial rapists on her radar screen. With Brown captured, she still had work to do.
Bond would stalk his victims and enter their apartments, usually in the early morning hours, silently get in bed with them, awaken them and sexually assault them. Or he would shine a light in victims’ faces to wake them up before the assault.
Miller referred to this modus operandi as “the boyfriend routine” since the perpetrator would engage in casual conversation after he completed his attack. He took great care to either cover his face or the eyes of his victims so it would be nearly impossible to identify him.
Tracks of the Laptop
If he were met with resistance, the “boyfriend” grew angry. He would produce a firearm and threaten his victim’s life. One of them even ran away from him, risking being shot in the back (he didn’t fire).
After another attack he got up and ran out the door when he discovered his victim’s young child was sleeping in the same bed where he assaulted the mother.
“These were just encounters, as he likes to say,” Miller said, citing the details of her Bond investigation and interview. “These weren’t really sexual assaults. He told me, ‘I feel bad. Maybe we should have talked on the phone and got to know each other better before I came over.’
“In his mind he doesn’t believe what he did was wrong. On the other hand, he knows it was.”
Alas, neither Jersey Village nor St. Louis police had any solid leads at the time Miller got involved. She learned that HPD had a case involving a suspect with the same DNA but the case went stale when the victim didn’t want to discuss the painful details.
Miller was persistent: “We had a rape kit that traced back to the suspect and we didn’t know who that suspect was. Since I had so much knowledge about all these cases, I wanted to pick the victim’s brain about something that had been missed.”
But the investigation grew cold by summer’s end and Miller saw few if any signs of progress in the fall, this despite the hard work of the two Kims, Miller and Frederickson from Special Victims.
“We dug and dug and dug May through October,” Miller said. “Then in October one came back with a DNA match. This case happened on Meadowglen – in my area. It had been inactivated. But then it was my turn. I had the chance to do more investigation on this guy. I figured maybe he lived there and had a girlfriend there in the apartment complex.”
Inexplicably, she got a Christmas present she calls a “gift from God.”
One might argue that Bond liked to have his own way of sick holiday celebrations. Early Christmas morning, of all times, he somehow sneaked into an apartment occupied by a woman who had locked her front door, back door and bedroom door, the last an extra precaution because her roommate was away for the holiday.
The elusive suspect had a talent for getting inside apartment dwellings without leaving any signs of forced entry. He still keeps his methods secret while a chain of incidents with “no forced entry” runs throughout his decade-long crime record.
Bond was known to take money and purses from his victims. Miller said, however, that that wasn’t the purpose of these “encounters.”
“If your motive is robbery, you’re not going to do sexual assault,” she said. “If sexual assault is the motive, then you’re going to take a purse or some property as an afterthought. That’s just my experience.”
In this holiday caper, he couldn’t resist pilfering his own Christmas present – a laptop computer – as an afterthought.
“Within an hour of the assault,” Anderson explained, “the victim, using tracking software, located the computer at an apartment complex located at 301 Wilcrest. “Officer Miller canvassed the apartment complex and located a 1996 Chevrolet Impala with Missouri plates.”
She traced the car to a registered owner who had been living in Houston for a few years but had not secured a Texas driver’s license nor changed the license plates on his vehicle.
Oh, and his height and build matched that of the suspected rapist, plus the fact that he lived in dwellings in the St. Louis near where the attacks took place.
The Perfect Match!
The registered owner claimed he was in Missouri visiting family for Christmas.
To solidify charges against him, Miller needed his DNA. A match would be another Bingo. Efforts to obtain a sample were futile until she got a warrant for his arrest and the go-ahead for the Houston Forensic Crime Center to do processing.
Once again HPD teamwork came into play.
“The forensic lab really went to work and came through,” Miller recalled. Particularly helpful were Ada Anna Emmons and Forensic Center supervisor, Jennifer Clay, who “was right there and helping me all the time.”
The center produced results in an amazingly short 10-hour period. The test results cleared the registered owner of the vehicle with Missouri plates.
The now-former suspect’s attitude left no doubt that he didn’t like cops. Yet he did reveal to Miller that Bond used a laptop while he spent the Christmas holiday in an apartment with Wi-Fi service. It was the use of Wi-Fi that enabled the victim to trace the laptop to this man’s apartment.
The user was Reginal Dwayne Bond!
Miller promptly worked a profile of Bond, age 37. She learned that both he and the owner of that Impala hailed from the infamous St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.
Not only did Bond match the suspect’s physical description but he also lived across the street from the site of three sexual assault cases in Houston. Bond was once arrested in St. Louis for burglary “where he was found to be standing at the foot of a female’s bed in the early morning hours.” The case was dismissed and Bond was set free.
The registered owner of the Impala was cleared through DNA testing 10 hours after his arrest. Shortly thereafter, now having a named individual to match DNA evidence in a growing number of rape cases, Westside Tactical Unit had Bond under surveillance. Upon receiving a signed warrant, the TACT team took Bond into HPD custody.
A second Houston area serial rapist was now out of commission!
Suspect Bond was wanted in cases going back to 2008 in St. Louis before coming to Houston in 2012 and “observing” holidays.
Miller believes the turn of events surrounding the Christmas Day attack and the laptop were divine intervention. She recalled her reaction: “God has given me a Christmas present. He dropped it in my lap. Eight prior years of rapes and we never had a solid connection.
“No stolen credit cards were used, no phones, nobody ever saw him in a car. Those big-lead characters were never there. We never could get any kind of visual on either Brown or Bond.”
Another important factor was the HPD teamwork. Miller relied a great deal on the support of her partner, Jeff Miller, who was instrumental in assisting her in the long hours of filing warrants, conducting search warrants and interrogations of suspects in both serial cases.
“It was a completely joint community effort,” Miller said. “The lab was available 24 hours. They did overtime. Without the cooperation of all these people, we couldn’t have done it. No way.”
Without the DNA evidence, Miller would not be able to hold Bond after 24 hours. Lab personnel worked overtime on the weekend and produced a positive match on Bond by 4 p.m. Saturday.
The DNA also matched four cases in St. Louis and one in Jersey Village.
Kim and Jeff Miller got Bond in the interview room and Kim told him she always got both sides of any story that might result in criminal charges. It was then that Bond confessed to the Houston rape and fed Miller the line that he was just trying to meet women.
“She worked those cases,” Lt. Anderson said. “It’s hard to find a mistake on them.
“Officer Miller located several items in Mr. Bond’s vehicle and apartment that tied him to several of the sexual assaults in Houston and Jersey Village.
“Through a combination of suspect’s confession and DNA evidence, Mr. Bond was filed on in five cases that occurred in Harris County for First Degree Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault.
Defendant Brown and defendant Bond are being held in the Harris County Jail without bond.
The streets of Houston and everywhere else are better now without Bond – or Brown.
Officer Kim Miller was named the HPOU Investigator of the Month in the April general membership meeting. At this point in time she continues to work with St. Louis authorities to make sure there’s justice for Bond. And Brown.