Mark Wayne Rathbun
California man arrested in 31 attacks, 2 in Seattle
By Ian Ith
Seattle Times staff reporter
Police in Long Beach, Calif., have arrested a 32-year-old man as a suspect in as many as 31 attacks, including two in Seattle more than six years ago.
Mark Wayne Rathbun was picked up by a Long Beach police dragnet Thursday as he tried to ride a bicycle away from a neighborhood after an unsuccessful rape attempt, said Officer Jana Blair.
He posted bail over the weekend but was shadowed until police got DNA matches on some attacks and arrested him again in Oxnard, Calif., Blair said. He was held yesterday on $2 million bail.
Police in Long Beach held a news conference to announce that Rathbun's DNA has linked him to 13 rapes since 1996, including one in Seattle.
That attack, on a 40-year-old woman, occurred at 4:30 a.m. Aug. 1, 1996, Long Beach police said. Seattle police did not respond to requests for further information yesterday.
Long Beach police also said Rathbun is a suspect in a rape of a 29-year-old woman in Seattle at 12:45 a.m. May 13, 1996, but added that they don't have physical evidence to charge Rathbun with that attack.
Records indicate that Rathbun, originally from Long Beach, lived in Seattle for only about a year, in 1996, on Malden Avenue East on Capitol Hill. He racked up several traffic offenses in Seattle and Bellevue, but wasn't convicted of any felonies here.
California court records show felony convictions in Long Beach in 1989, and police there said he was wanted on a drug charge when he was arrested last week.
The serial rapes had plagued the Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos areas for years. The attacker was briefly dubbed "The Belmont Shore Rapist" before the attacks started occurring elsewhere.
In nearly all of the California cases, the attacker methodically entered women's homes, almost always well after midnight, through unlocked windows or doors. He always wore a mask or other face covering, making identifying him difficult, police said.
Victims' ages ranged greatly, from 29 to 77 years old. In 13 of the 31 attacks, the women were not sexually assaulted, police said.