Texoma Sex Offender Suspected In A Dozen Crimes

A man who may be connected to nearly a dozen sexual assaults is spending the night in jail Thursday.

Investigators say DNA evidence from the unsolved sexual assault of a nine year-old-girl matched convicted sex offender Robert Tracy Warterfield to the crime.

The 42-year-old was arrested Wednesday afternoon while trimming trees in Seymour.

Dennis Taylor, a concerned parent, can't believe that a person with such a history was working in his community.

"As a parent, it makes me feel pretty upset because he was in this town and nobody really knew," says Taylor.

Workers at the South Allsup's on Main Street in Seymour agree. "It's just horrible to actually find out that he was walking around Seymour, working in people's yards where there is children. Nobody had no clue, that's terrible," she says.

James McGough, a resident who lives on the street where Warterfield was arrested explains, "It's bad, no matter how you look at it."

Scott Cree points to the problems in society saying "It's unfortunate that our society is in this shape today."

Outside of Allsup's another coworker explains what most are feeling. "It's sad that you've walked next to a person that has raped a child and not even know that they are a child rapist," she says.

Yet, Robert Tracy Warterfield has been on the books as a sexual offender for 16 years. In 1994, he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation. Warterfield ended up breaking his parole and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The new charge however, came from a case that to some, seemed to go cold.

In 1989, a nine-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in the North Dallas area. Although DNA evidence was collected from the scene, technology was not available to connect a person to the alleged attack until now.

The Dallas District Attorney's Office was investigating another sexual attack that led to the wrongful conviction of 39-year-old Stephen Brodie.

In 1991, Brodie was arrested for stealing. While police were interrogating him, they brought up the unsolved rape of a five-year-old girl. Brodie, who is deaf and requires the assistance of an interpreter, was questioned for 18 hours over 18 days. At times, his interpreter was not present. Brodie confessed to the crime and was sent to prison for five years. He also served an additional five years for failing to register as a sex offender.

In September, a District Judge declared Brodie innocent of the crime.

After Brodie pleaded guilty, police matched a fingerprint found at the scene to Warterfield. Although Warterfield has not be charged in the case, he is still being looked at as a suspect.

The District Attorney's office started connecting Warterfield's name to cold cases. Looking at the 1989 case, the DA's forensic office compared Warterfield's DNA with DNA taken from the crime scene and they say the comparison produced a positive match.

21 years after the alleged attack, the Baylor County Sheriff's Office along with Dallas police arrested Warterfield and took him into custody without incident. Now, many in Seymour are still shaken.

"It's never safe, completely safe," says James McGough.

The Dallas County District Attorney's office says it is investigating Warterfield's role in nearly a dozen sexual assaults around the North Dallas area in the late 80s and 90s.

Currently, Warterfield is being held in Dallas county on a $50,000 bond. The District Attorney's Office says Warterfield will be charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6