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Police Close in Quickly on Tosa Woman's Vicious Rapist — Only to Find Him Dead

4-24-2012 Wisconsin:

A Wauwatosa woman is brutally assaulted at the point of a knife, and not waiting for DNA evidence to be returned, detectives develop a lead. They were on the right track, but it turned out their quarry was already beyond justice.

Police were on the right track when they went to question a suspect in the vicious knifepoint rape of a Wauwatosa woman in early March.

They didn’t know it for sure, but they did have the right man after less than a week of investigation. DNA test results returned a month later supported their belief, but couldn't help police make an arrest.

The rapist was already dead.

Just days after a stranger brutally assaulted a woman in her home on North 68th Street on March 3, police zeroed in on a possible suspect. They didn’t have much to go on except his victim’s description, somewhat matching one man out of a handful of contacts gleaned from her daughter’s memory and cell phone.

But, said Capt. Jeff Sutter, they decided to go knock on his door anyway.

Tosa detectives went to an address on North 15th Street in Milwaukee and spoke to a woman who said she was the suspect's stepdaughter. She told them the man they were looking for had died four days earlier of a heroin overdose.

Police paid a visit to the county morgue. Sure enough, the body was still there, and it matched the description of the rapist, right down to the distinctive tattoo the victim had seen on his chest.

The case would have been closed right then, except that when officers showed his victim a photo lineup including a mug shot of him, she couldn't pick him out.

That left detectives only 99 percent sure they had the right man, and they had to wait for the State Crime Lab to respond to DNA evidence left at the scene to match their suspect.

It did, and now they are 100 percent sure the woman’s rapist is not still roaming the streets. William J. Keys, 37, was declared dead on March 5.

Victim tells of horrifying ordeal

That's a great relief to his victim, who had been living in fear that Keys might return — as he had threatened to do — to subject her again to what happened March 3. Police reports paint a detailed picture of the crime and subsequent pursuit of the rapist.

About 11 a.m. that day, the 55-year-old was relaxing at home, where she lived with a daughter, when her doorbell rang.

She had never seen the man at her door. But he asked for her daughter by name, wanting to know if she was home. Told that she wasn’t there, Keys then asked if he could use the woman's bathroom.

She let him in and said he was in her bathroom for more than five minutes. When he came out, she said, she asked his name. He said, "Just call me Daddy."

At that point, she asked him to leave. Instead, he pulled out a knife, held it to her throat and threatened to kill her. Then he raped her repeatedly, in her living room and then her bedroom, for two hours.

During his attack, she said, Keys dropped his knife, and she saw it between the cushions of her couch. She grabbed it and threw it across the floor, where it skidded into her dining room.

Before the attacker left, he looked for his knife but never found it, and the victim hid it after he was gone.

She waited more than two hours to call police, by which time her assailant’s track was cold.

Police begin the only place they can – with the daughter

Knowing that Crime Lab reports would take six to eight weeks to return a match, Wauwatosa police detectives went to work with what they had: a description from the victim and the knowledge that the perpetrator at least knew the name of the victim’s daughter – he had referred to her by name not only at the door but again during the crime.

The daughter was questioned and turned over her cell phone, and detectives began a list of potential suspects. Then followed the painstaking task of matching numbers and recollections of casual acquaintanceship to names, connecting them to criminal records and photos, looking for someone who might match a description or have a motive.

Detectives found one man — Keys — who stood out somewhat from the rest. The daughter's description was strongly similar to her mother's of her attacker. He had a criminal record, including a felony conviction for battery to a police officer. He had at least an idea of where the victim lived.

The victim's daughter had met Keys when they worked together briefly in December for the same temporary employment service. She said that he had flirted with her and asked her out, but she brushed him off.

On at least one occasion, she said, she remembered they had ridden the bus together and he would have seen her getting off near her home.

Police had a hunch that Keys either that day or at another time stalked her and saw her enter her home, then came back looking for her — and instead found her mother.

Feeling that with a rapist was on the streets, they should act rather than wait for Crime Lab reports, police went looking for Keys on March 9 and learned of his death.

It wasn't until April 20 that the DNA evidence came back with a positive identification of Keys.

Capt. Sutter said that officers visited the victim again April 21 and told her they knew the man who had assaulted her, and that he was dead.

Then they showed her morgue photos of Keys, including his tattoo. That's him, she told them this time — that's definitely the man who raped me. ..Source.. by WauwatosaPatch

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