Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials on Thursday released images of men they suspect of raping disabled women. Authorities believe there are a least 10 victims, but they're not exactly sure when and where the attacks happened.
What they do know is that at least one of the suspects was disabled himself -- that he actually had to wheel over to a victim, hoist himself onto her bed and remove his diaper, said sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott. The attacks appeared to take place at a hospital or care facility.
Law enforcement became aware of the attacks when ...
... detectives in March somehow obtained a computer hard drive that contained video of eight attacks by eight men on 10 women. Sheriff's officials said someone anonymously dropped off the hard drive. They'd like that person to step forward.
Why they waited so long to go public with this isn't clear. Perhaps they tried to solve the case but hit a dead end.
"All of the victims appear to be severely disabled,'' Sgt. Darren Harris Harris said. "The extremely disturbing videos are not being released to the public, but photos from portions of the video are being released in an effort to identify some of the suspects.''
Scott said authorities feared the attacks might still be happening.
Anyone who might recognize these suspects as asked to call sheriff's detectives at 866-247-5877.
Updat #1: The LAPD says it recognized one of the suspects and that he's currently behind bars: Forty-two-year-old Bert Hicks was recognized by cops as one of the alleged attackers. He's doing time at Tehachapi State Prison for -- you guessed it -- sexual assault. He was slated to be up for parole next year. Now we'll see.
Los Angeles city cops said they also recognized another suspect, but authorities would not release his name.
Is it us or did the sheriff's department drop the ball on this? They had these images since March, released them to the public on Jan. 6, and they're just now coming to the attention of the LAPD -- which actually had info on two suspects?
Law enforcement in L.A. doesn't communicate about these kinds of things? One would think the first thing sheriff's officials would do is say, hey, LAPD amigos, check out these images before we release them to the public. Maybe you'll recognize someone you've come across in the past.
Update #2: Authorities said a second suspect, 27-year-old Ernie Lloyd, walked into the LAPD's Hollywood station and turned himself in over the weekend. He was booked on suspicion of raping a disabled person and held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
[First posted at 4:57 p.m. on Thursday].