Dwight Arthur Harris was arrested on July 2, 2021 for two home invasion rapes in Orlando, Florida that took place in 2002. The assailant became known as the ‘Woodline Rapist.’ He would break into the women’s homes and wait for them to return. He would then take them to a nearby wooded area, just beyond the treeline, where he would sexually assault them.
The first assault took place on February 1, 2002. He kidnapped the woman at knifepoint and forced her behind a dumpster where he sexually assaulted her. He then took her to a nearby wooded area where he sexually assaulted her again. He made her put her pants on her head to stifle her crying and told her to remain in the woods while he left, or he would come back and hurt her.
The second assault took place on July 10, 2002, when a woman was kidnapped at about 3:30 am after returning from a night out with friends. A blue towel was placed over her face while she was taken to a bushy area nearby and sexually assaulted. She was forced to lie face down while he departed. She then gathered up her clothing and returned to her apartment.
The FGG investigation was conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Genetic Genealogy Investigations Team. The investigation was narrowed down to four brothers as possible suspects. The final conformation was made when investigators obtained a warrant to take a DNA profile from Harris.
Harris had been charged with a misdemeanour domestic assault against his wife in 2004. Harris had been investigated for an armed sexual assault in 2011 but the complainant, a sex worker, declined to press charges. As a result of this investigation, Orange County authorities have decided to store evidence in sexual assault cases for 50 years.
Harris was still living in Orlando and working as a delivery driver at the time of his arrest. He is described as a very pleasant family man. He is facing two charges of sexual battery in Orange County. Police state that they are investigating whether Harris is responsible for other sexual assaults, but no further charges have been laid as yet.
Brieskorn, Katlyn. “Police: Suspected ‘Woodline Rapist’ Linked to 2 Orange County Cold Case Sex Battery Cases Arrested.” WFTV 9 News ABC, July 13, 2021. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wftv.com/news/local/orange-county/orlando-police-make-arrest-2-sexual-battery-cold-cases-involving-man-known-woodline-rapist/PG3BIA24K5A5BLAAV6HG2TSBMY/.
Fox 35 News Staff. “Orlando Police Make Arrest in 19 Year Old Sex Battery Cold Case.” Fox 35 News Orlando, July 13, 2021. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/orlando-police-make-arrest-in-19-year-old-sex-battery-cold-cases.
Sederstrom, Jill. “Florida Man Living ‘Normal Life’ Accused of Being ‘Woodline Rapist’ Nearly 20 Years After Attacks.” Oxygen, July 15, 2021. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/dwight-arthur-harris-accused-of-being-woodline-rapist.
Volz, Brianna. “DNA Leads to Arrest in ‘Woodline Rapist Cold Cases Dating Back Nearly 20 Years.” Click Orlando, July 13, 2021. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2021/07/13/dna-leads-to-arrest-in-woodline-rapist-cold-cases-dating-back-nearly-20-years/.