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Crime News Dateline

Serial Rapist Known As the "Bathtub Killer" Caused "Absolute Panic" in Texas: "He's Evil"

When two women were killed in the same Arlington, Texas apartment complex in the same year, panic spread through the city. “He said, ‘Don’t scream and I won’t kill you,'" one survivor recalled.

By Jill Sederstrom
Dateline: Dark Intentions

When a violent serial rapist known as the “Bathtub Killer” targeted a string of unsuspecting women in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington area of Texas, it sent terror throughout the community, according to Dateline.

“You don’t have fear. You don’t have concern — you’ve got absolute panic,” former Arlington Police Department Detective Tommy LeNoir told Dateline, as seen in a chilling preview of “Dark Intentions," an all-new episode debuting Friday on NBC.

Bathtub Killer's surviving victims recount their attacks 

In pulse-pounding detail, survivor Chima Benson recalled the terrifying moment she came face-to-face with the elusive rapist, who often attacked in the “dead of night.” 

“He said, ‘Don’t scream and I won’t kill you,’” Benson shares in the episode.

For more from Dateline:
How a Group of Brave Women Took Down a Man They Believed To Be an "Incurable Psychopath" and Predator

California Woman’s Mysterious Fatal "Fall" in the Middle of the Night Turned Out To Be More Sinister
Seemingly "Nice" Man with Two Missing Wives Discovered To Have "Chilling History" By Investigators

Adriane Fields, another surviving victim of the serial rapist, said she heard “breathing” and a swishing sound during her harrowing encounter with the man. She told Dateline she believed during the brutal attack that she was going to die.

“Everything inside of me knew that I was going to be a part of that story,” she said.

Chima Benson featured on Dateline Dark Intentions

When two women were killed in the same Arlington, Texas apartment complex in the same year, 1996, “panic” began to spread through the city, according to a synopsis of the episode. 

“He’s evil,” LeNoir told Dateline of the killer rapist. “He’s gonna strike again.” 

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Yet, despite the growing number of attacks, investigators were “stumped” and didn’t know how to track down the killer, until they finally caught the break that would blow the case wide open.

“Three years later, forensic evidence from two subsequent rapes provides a breakthrough, bringing the murderer and serial rapist to justice,” the Dateline episode's synopsis reads. 

When the killer was finally unmasked, his own girlfriend was shocked by how close she’d come to evil.

“[The] most surprising moment was when the killer’s girlfriend told me she’d lived in fear of the Bathtub Killer for months and then realized she’d moved in with him! Having no clue he was the killer,” Dateline correspondent Andrea Canning shared with NBC Insider.

The suspect was caught, in part, due to his surviving victims’ willingness to share their stories and the evidence he left behind.

“The most challenging part of this story was having the women re-live their worst nightmare,” Canning said. “My heart went out to them and their families who were also affected by this man’s evil deeds. Their lives were changed forever.” 

In addition to Fields, Benson and LeNoir, the episode also includes interviews with Joel Stephenson, Hiep Vu and others who help bring the story together. 

Adriane featured on Dateline: Dark Intentions

Canning hopes that Dateline viewers will take away a feeling of hope that she says grew among the survivors despite the tragic ordeal.

RELATED: "Shocking Secret" Revealed Decades After Pennsylvania Mom Was Murdered and Her Home Set On Fire

"One thing people should take away, especially women, is that as hard as it is... with time you can come back from sexual assault,” Canning told NBC Insider. “Every single one of these survivors showed such strength and resilience. I was in awe of how they’ve gone on with their lives in remarkable ways and how some of the women have used their horrific experiences to help others with their recoveries.”

To find out more about how the case unfolds, watch Dateline Friday, June 7 at 9/8c p.m. on NBC or stream it the next day on Peacock.

And for even more Dateline, sign up for the show's official newsletter and check out its podcast.

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