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Posted at 1:54 PM ET, 03/10/2011

First photos of alleged East Coast Rapist

By Josh White and Maria Glod

Two law enforcement photographs of the suspect in the East Coast Rapist case were released on Thursday, and the images taken 10 years apart show how the man has aged and changed since some of the early attacks in the Washington area.

Both images, obtained by The Washington Post, are mug shots of Aaron H. Thomas, of New Haven, Conn., who was arrested last week after a 14-year hunt for a mysterious rapist who attacked women in at least four states. Twelve rapes and other attacks were linked by DNA to a single man, and police have said Thomas's DNA was a match.

PH2011031003429.jpg
Left: Aaron Thomas following a June 2001 arrest on domestic assault and battery charges. (Courtesy Prince William County Police) Right: Thomas was arrested in New Haven, Conn., in connection with the East Coast Rapist case. (Courtesy Connecticut Department of Correction)

The most recent photo is from the Connecticut Department of Correction, where Thomas is being held on $1.5 million bond on charges connected to a rape in New Haven in 2007 and an attack on three teenage girls in Prince William County on Halloween 2009. Police arrested Thomas on Friday after they watched him, collected a discarded cigarette butt, and had the DNA on the cigarette analyzed in a matter of hours.

Though photographers and courtroom sketch artists had gotten pictures of Thomas from the side, the Department of Corrections intake photo is the first full view of Thomas's face since his arrest. Police in New Haven had not released Thomas's arrest photo in the week since his capture, citing investigative reasons, an unusually long time to keep an arrested suspect's image from public view.

The second photograph, which police in Prince William County took in June 2001, shows Thomas at 29 years old and at the heart of the series of attacks. He is heavier, his face is rounder, and he has far more hair, a look that is much closer to the composite sketches that victims helped police create at the time.

Detectives and prosecutors hope that people will look at the photographs and come forward with information about Thomas or other unreported attacks that could be linked to him. People who would like to contact police about the case can do so at www.eastcoastrapist.com.

In June 2001, Thomas was arrested for domestic assault and battery on a woman he lived with in Dale City. Prince William County court documents show that the woman said Thomas grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into a bathroom, breaking a window. Thomas told police at the time that he "did not grab her but they were wrestling."

The Dale City address is about two miles from where the Halloween 2009 attack happened.

The woman, whom the Post is not identifying because she was the victim of a crime, had shared an address with Thomas along Route 1 in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, very close to the rapes that occurred there at about that time.

Particularly noteworthy about the June 2001 assault arrest was that it came just weeks after the East Coast Rapist attacked a Leesburg woman in her empty apartment as she was moving out, threatening her with a screwdriver and disappearing with all of her clothes. That attack was not far from where Thomas has family in Clarke County, Va.

Detectives had long believed that the East Coast Rapist had ties to the areas where the attacks occurred and knew the areas well, as he seemed to know where to take his victims to attack them and how to escape quickly and without notice. They also said he likely would have a criminal record.

Police said they were surprised by Thomas's demeanor when they interrogated him, finding him meek, passive, talkative and less physically imposing than they had expected.

In the 2001 arrest documents, Thomas is listed as being 25 pounds heavier than he is now, and the photographs show clear differences in his physical appearance 10 years apart.

Staff writer Jennifer Buske and researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

By Josh White and Maria Glod  | March 10, 2011; 1:54 PM ET
Categories:  East Coast Rapist, Josh White, Maria Glod, Updates  
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Comments

Never seen someone age that much over a 10 year span. That fool looks like a cowardly crackhead. Nice to know that his ass will rot in hell, though. Punk!!

Posted by: KNNTHMORRIS | March 10, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

yep sure looks like a crack head to me.

I wonder what took so long to put his picture out there or for that matter what he looked like?

Posted by: geewilicurs | March 10, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

That is not the same person.

Posted by: sstephens1 | March 10, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

That is not the same person.

Posted by: sstephens1 | March 10, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

No way is that the same person in those pics. The guy on the right looks like he's about 40 years old and no way looked that different only 10 years ago. Do you people even have the right suspect?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 10, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Look at how the right ear flies off his head in the pic to the right, but is pressed against the head in the pic on the left.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 10, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Not the same person. 1. the ears are so different. If a man get wrinkles in his forehead like that in a 10 year span, women better watch out, the whole face is not a match, look at the hairline, and the lips, the lighter version has a deeper increase in his top lip, and the darker version has a larger bottom lip. I think they need to hypnotise both and get the correct information they're looking for.

Posted by: pink1 | March 10, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

It's the same man in both photos. I agree his right ear appears different, but it's an illusion due to the hair (photo on the left) and the angle of his head (photo on the right). Compare his lips, eyes, eye folds, chin, and nose. Spot on.

Posted by: williamhuxtan | March 10, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

That is not the same person and his moustach and face does not look like the sketch. A person does not get lighter complexioned, they usually get darker. I think they've got the wrong man.

Posted by: advance1 | March 10, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse


I think they need to hypnotise both and get the correct information they're looking for.

Posted by: pink1 | March 10, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

-------------

You think hypnosis will draw out new details, but in fact that is when they install the false details when they're running a cover-up.

They held the photo until they could doctor it up to make it look more similar. Sometime before trial they'll need to do some cosmetic surgery on the dude to make him fit the sketches better.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 10, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Come on people, give the police departments some credit. Same suspect 10 years later. Yes, he looks much different since it's 10 years later and 10 years running from the law. Most likely he is on drugs too which adds to gaunt and aged look.

These photos go to show you how much a suspect's appearance can change over time. I am glad they posted the earlier and later photo. Lets the public know to pay attention to the aged photos of the most wanted and to really look at the people who surround you.

Good job to the law enforcement agencies and the caller who gave the tip!

Posted by: Ross65 | March 10, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

No way is that the same person in those pics. The guy on the right looks like he's about 40 years old and no way looked that different only 10 years ago. Do you people even have the right suspect?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 10, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are not the discerning type. The picture on the left was when he was 29. Ten years later he'd be 39 or "about 40." He aged terribly. Probably a life on the lam and on the road with a poor diet. It happens people. It's no conspiracy. The guy in custody is linked by DNA.

Posted by: jab00 | March 10, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Harsh lighting combined with gauntness from weight loss really bring out deep facial grooves, making the subject look older - cigarette smokers do not age well, either - the first photo is almost a soft-focus compared to the second - law enforcement wins again -

Posted by: vm56 | March 10, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"All black people look alike"! BS! This is not the same man!

Posted by: gladiatorgal | March 10, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"All black people look alike"! Get the ham sandwich out of here! These guys may be related, perhaps they aren't, but the photos are not that of the same man!

Posted by: gladiatorgal | March 10, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"All black people look alike"! Get the ham sandwich out of here! These guys may be related, perhaps they aren't, but the photos are not that of the same man!

Posted by: gladiatorgal | March 10, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

He's definitely a crack addict. It's the same guy. He may be HIV positive.

Posted by: FiatBooks | March 10, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

No drugs. No HIV. No weight loss. Can't you folks see? I personally think his looks has changed because committing something heinous and evil eventually takes a toll on your soul.

Posted by: DaleGribble | March 10, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

White fear of black men is completely justified.

Posted by: flodareltih | March 10, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Second williamhuxton, Ross65, and jab00's comments. In addition, both men have a small mole on their left cheek. It is the same person. Ten years of hard living can really change a person. Look at how the stress of a presidency can change a person's looks in just 4-8 years. Compare photos of Clinton or George W at the beginning of their presidencies and at the end- and these guys have a team of doctors working to keep them healthy!

Posted by: dcn8v | March 11, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

This nasty monster should be put under the prison.

Posted by: snobsappeal | March 11, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

This nasty monster should be put under the prison.

Posted by: snobsappeal | March 11, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@flodareltih

Minority fears of reckless whitey domination completely justified.

Posted by: DaleGribble | March 11, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Let's do this:

"Go to prison, you violent FOOL day!"
One day EVERY year.

Then we can "take out the trash." I mean, I would love to "blame the colored" or the "foreigners" or the "liberals," BUT frankly people of ALL persuasions are GOING crazy these days.

Maybe they have never heard of DNA? Maybe they HATE everybody? Maybe they just want to "live free" in those "penal resorts?'

I mean, at what point does one say, "maybe I should NOT allow my "lower-half" to dothe "thinking" for me!"

I don't get it. Man, more-and-more of this murder/rape stuff.

"Tough on crime?" what DOES that do? Gives people jobs, but does it deter the crime? NOPE.

Must be the DYSFUNCTION of the SYSTEM. Think about it. Does cutting off my limbs REMOVE the "malignant cancer?"
MIGHT "slow it down," BUT does it stop the "spread of the disease?"

Folks, wake up. SUFFER, discipline yourselves. You mess up you ONLY "provide jobs" to the people you don't like. They, in turn live well OFF your misery!!
And, by the way, THEY don't like you either.

So, "why" make it easy for them?
If you really MUST "get some" go home and watch a video. Talk to yourself, use some "brain matter" if you have ANY left.

But, doing this kind of "crazy stuff" IS a "lost cause" PURE evil, pure sickness.

If you hate yourselves so much and hate others because you are so miserable. DO US A FAVOR and "hop off a bridge" or something.
You will NOT be missed.

But, you merely PROVE that abortion SHOULD REMAIN VIABLE and financially supported EVERYWHERE.

If you are NOT "man enough" to SUFFER, discipline yourselves," "prove-them-wrong," "overcome your hardships," etc. etc.

Then don't be MAD when you wind up doing life and not knowing how to read, at least to occupy your time.

PATHETIC.

Posted by: looier1 | March 11, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that he was obsessed with exercise, he would ride his bike numerous miles and he would run religiously . The two pictures look the same, one is when he was heavier, and the hair is more like a miniature afro . The other is when he lost too much weight, and the hair is a faded cut,he looks gaunt. I am so glad that they caught this guy, now I know why they had all the different pictures up of him his look changed frequently. I hope the victims will finally be able to move forward with their lives it will be hard but each day will hopefully get better. And to this sociopaths family , and loved ones they will need to rely on God to help them in this unfortunate , horrendous time.

Posted by: djeff029 | March 11, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that he was obsessed with exercise, he would ride his bike numerous miles and he would run religiously . The two pictures look the same, one is when he was heavier, and the hair is more like a miniature afro . The other is when he lost too much weight, and the hair is a faded cut,he looks gaunt. I am so glad that they caught this guy, now I know why they had all the different pictures up of him his look changed frequently. I hope the victims will finally be able to move forward with their lives it will be hard but each day will hopefully get better. And to this sociopaths family , and loved ones they will need to rely on God to help them in this unfortunate , horrendous time.

Posted by: djeff029 | March 11, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that he was obsessed with exercise, he would ride his bike numerous miles and he would run religiously . The two pictures look the same, one is when he was heavier, and the hair is more like a miniature afro . The other is when he lost too much weight, and the hair is a faded cut,he looks gaunt. I am so glad that they caught this guy, now I know why they had all the different pictures up of him his look changed frequently. I hope the victims will finally be able to move forward with their lives it will be hard but each day will hopefully get better. And to this sociopaths family , and loved ones they will need to rely on God to help them in this unfortunate , horrendous time.

Posted by: djeff029 | March 11, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that he was obsessed with exercise, he would ride his bike numerous miles and he would run religiously . The two pictures look the same, one is when he was heavier, and the hair is more like a miniature afro . The other is when he lost too much weight, and the hair is a faded cut,he looks gaunt. I am so glad that they caught this guy, now I know why they had all the different pictures up of him his look changed frequently. I hope the victims will finally be able to move forward with their lives it will be hard but each day will hopefully get better. And to this sociopaths family , and loved ones they will need to rely on God to help them in this unfortunate , horrendous time.

Posted by: djeff029 | March 11, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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