Bus-stop rape case has investigators looking at other attacks

Suspect could be same man who exposed himself to female employees at mental-health and drug-treatment center.
MCT Regional News
Oct 26, 2013

Columbus police are poring over unsolved rape reports to determine whether the suspect in the bus-stop abduction and rape of a Near East Side woman on Monday might have committed similar crimes.

Detectives investigating Ronald E. Ayers also are reviewing an Oct. 9 public-indecency report from the same area.

Sgt. David Pelphrey, of the Police Division’s sexual-assault squad, said the suspect in that report exposed himself to female employees of Columbus Area Inc., a mental-health and drug-treatment center at 1515 E. Broad St. The center is a half-mile from the scene of Monday morning’s rape.

“We’re looking to see if he could be involved in any other cases,” Pelphrey said yesterday. That review could take several weeks, he said.

Ayers appeared in Franklin County Municipal Court yesterday morning on charges that he kidnapped a 27-year-old woman and her 3-year-old daughter from a bus stop on N. Ohio Avenue, then raped the woman behind a nearby building as she held her child.

Ayers, 34, who is listed as homeless in court records, shook his head and frowned as Judge Amy Salerno set his bond at $2 million, twice the amount requested by prosecutors.

As a police document detailing the allegations was read aloud, he repeatedly mouthed what appeared to be, “Ain’t what happened.”

Salerno said the nature of the offense, Ayers’ history of felony convictions and his habit of disregarding court orders in previous cases demanded a high bond.

According to the police report, Ayers jabbed something into the woman’s back around 6:45 a.m. and told her “to shut up and start walking or he would kill her.” She complied, carrying her daughter with her. Once behind a vacant gas station, the man raped the woman from behind. She held onto her daughter during the five-minute attack, the document said. The girl was not assaulted.

Court records show that Ayers has served prison time for burglary, assault, domestic violence and robbery.

Anyone with information for detectives may call them at 614-645-4701.

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By Theodore Decker - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

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