PHOENIX - A suspect has been arrested in the serial rapist case that's plagued south Phoenix for the last several months.
Phoenix police said the suspect, identified as 18-year-old DeJuan Donaldson, was arrested Wednesday morning and now faces 13 separate charges in connection with the attacks.
The teen's mother, Charise Donaldson-Hatchett, was with him when he was taken into custody.
"They all just tackled him to the ground with a dog, knee in the back," she said. "He's 115 pounds, 5'4 and three-quarters, anyone with one arm can pick him up and throw him anywhere."
Donaldson was reportedly arrested at a grocery store near 7th Street and Baseline Road. The store is not far from his family's home, which police say is across the street from the vacant house where the latest attack occurred.
"He lived close to the first two attacks and then moved and was right across the street from the third victim. The proximity raised the suspicion," said Commander Robert Demlong at a Wednesday press conference.
Demlong confirmed Donaldson has been linked to the three attacks through DNA and other evidence.
Three girls had been attacked in an area between 7th Street and 19th Avenue and between Southern Avenue and Baseline Road since late last year.
Investigators told ABC15 the first incident happened in November when a 10-year-old girl from Conchos Elementary School was raped by the suspect inside a vacant home.
Two months later, police said DNA linked the man to a second attack involving a 12-year-old girl from Davis Elementary School. She was raped inside the same vacant home near 16th and Southern avenues.
Detectives also believe the same man raped a 17-year-old girl walking to South Mountain High School on April 25th near 7th Street and Carson.
Police said all three victims were threatened with a knife.
Donaldson's family is vowing to fight for him as police continue thier investigation into the series of attacks.
"They are lying," said Lexis Donaldson, his sister.
DeJuan Donaldson's fiance, Tahki Page said that she was with him when the most recent attack took place and can account for his whereabouts.
Donaldson-Hatchett said that she believes her son is being framed.
"I can tell you where he is at any time," she said. "If it is a match then I apologize to whoever he hurt, but knowing my son and and knowing my family, I know he didn't do this."
Police are confident they have the right person.
Police made contact with Donaldson along with several others following the second attack in January. DNA evidence was collected a week ago. The tests were confirmed Wednesday, which led police to make the arrest.
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