Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News
After an extradition hearing, Van Dixson will return to Dallas to face rape charges.
Dallas police said Tuesday afternoon that Van Dralan Dixson, the man wanted in connection with four sexual assaults in South Dallas, was captured near Baton Rouge, La.
Maj. Jeff Cotner, with the Dallas Police Department, confirmed Dixson was captured at about 2 p.m. Tuesday at a motel near Baton Rouge by the U.S. Marshals Service's Middle Louisiana Task Force.
Dixson is currently being held at the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail. Cotner said Dallas detectives will soon be headed to Baton Rouge, presumably to work on Dixson's extradition.
While confirming the arrest Tuesday afternoon, Dallas Police Chief David Brown thanked both Oak Farms Dairy and Crime Stoppers for supplying reward money and the citizens of Dallas for their patience while the cases were investigated.
Brown said he knows there are a lot of questions about how the investigation was handled and said the department would release more information, including a chronology of events and new information not yet released publicly, on Wednesday.
DNA evidence linked Dixson, a local crime-watch volunteer, to four sexual assaults, Dallas police said Monday night . Police are investigating those crimes as part of a string of at least nine rapes reported in South Dallas. More tests were pending, according to Cotner.
Dixson had been charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault relating to a rape and robbery in the Fair Park neighborhood, just southeast of downtown. Addressing reporters Monday night, Cotner said three more aggravated sexual assault counts had been filed against Dixson, with bail set at $1 million for each count.
Cotner also said police had taken Dixson into custody briefly last week and obtained a DNA sample from him, but did not have evidence to bring charges at that time. Cotner said DNA test results from two attacks were still pending, and no evidence was available from two other attack cases.
Dixson was charged with his first count Saturday. His car was found abandoned the next day in a parking lot in Garland. The car was impounded, and a warrant to allow a police search was pending, Cotner said.
As a crime-watch volunteer, Dixson would patrol the streets several times a week, neighbors said.
"We know he'd have a gun in his pocket, because he's shown it to us. Everyone around here knows he carries a gun. We all think he's carrying it because he's protecting the neighborhood, but he's carrying it because he's been preying on the neighborhood himself," said neighbor Tasha Prince.
Dixson has been part of the area's neighborhood crime-watch group, the Mill City Community Association, since January.
The group said Dixson's duties were limited to telling neighbors about the association, not patrolling at night -- but neighbors said he was referred to as "neighborhood watch," and it seemed he was patrolling the neighborhood almost every night.
Dixson has been part of the area's neighborhood crime-watch group, the Mill City Community Association, since January. The group's president, Alendra Lyons, called his arrest a "relief to the community.
"A lot of people have been fearful, of course," Lyons said. "They've been afraid."
State criminal records show Dixson was arrested and convicted of aggravated robbery in 1993. But he was also arrested as recently as last month on a deadly conduct charge, according to Dallas County records.
County records also show that he filed for divorce three years ago, and it was finalized a few months later. A judge awarded Dixson custody of the couple's three children, who are now 21, 8 and 6.
Dixson's attorney during the divorce, Tiombe Jones, said Monday that she didn't remember anything particular about Dixson or the divorce proceeding. Messages left by the Associated Press on a cellphone listed for Dixson's ex-wife were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Authorities have said they believe one suspect committed the nine sex assaults that have been reported in the Fair Park area this summer. In each, the attacker approached his victims in the early morning hours, forced them to secluded areas nearby, and then robbed and sexually assaulted them.
The assailant in each case was armed with a handgun, wore shorts and a T-shirt, and masked his face using various types of cloth, according to police. The victims said they were approached on foot.
A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and an indictment in the cases.
NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.