HEREFORD, AZ — John Joseph Daly III was to his neighbors in Hereford, Arizona, “a nice guy and a respectable U.S. Border Patrol agent,” but to prosecutors, he’s a man with a secret criminal past of being the accused East Valley Serial Rapist.
A grand jury in Cochise County indicted Daly recently for the assault of a woman that occurred in 2001 in Bisbee. But prosecutors want him tried in Maricopa County first where he faces sexual assault charges related to three of the eight sexual assault cases.
Daly is now in a Maricopa county jail. He was booked on November 30 on counts of kidnapping and sex crimes related to at least three sexual assaults from Gilbert and Mesa between 1999 and 2000.
He was expected to have his first court appearance for arraignment in Maricopa county on December 1, but it was delayed for the third time. He’s scheduled to appear in person in court on December 3.
Oct. 2001, Bisbee, Arizona: A vicious crime shatters Bisbee’s peaceful way of living
“People 20 years ago did not lock their doors here. People became a little more cautious, women became more cautious. Most people nowadays lock their homes and cars,” said reporter and publishers of the Bisbee Observer, Laura Swan.
“Her feet were bound, her hands were bound, her hands were covered,” said attorney and victims' rights advocate Lynne Cadigan.
Cadigan is representing the woman who was attacked in Bisbee and who’s now the only victim suing Daly in civil court individually.
“She can sleep at night now; she doesn’t have to be afraid of the dark. She still thought he was out there wandering around, and he probably was,” expressed Cadigan, speaking on behalf of the victim.
Daly is in custody pending trial for the attack. He was arrested in May suspected of at least three sexual assaults in Gilbert and Mesa between 1999 and 2000, and one in Bisbee in 2001.
The pattern the East Valley Rapist allegedly followed
“What his M.O. was with her and the other victims was to strangle them until they passed out repeatedly, to knife them, to cut their clothes off, to rape them. To bring them almost to the point of death then let them live,” stated Cadigan.
According to police records, the victims never got to see the attacker's face. In the Bisbee case, records show the victim’s eyes were duct-taped. But the victim did hear him talking.
“He pretended to speak Spanish, like bad Spanish, and he doesn’t even speak Spanish. As if he’s trying to blame it on a Mexican crossing the border,” said Cadigan.
The suspect was wrongly identified as Hispanic in the Bisbee police report from 20 years ago, and to make matters worse, once the victim escaped, Bisbee police didn't take her seriously.
“The cops didn’t believe her, no one believed her for 20 years,” expressed Cadigan.
Police records show she was asked to take a polygraph test.
“The police here were saying that there was no evidence of a sexual assault,” said Swan.
Swan is a reporter and publisher in Bisbee and has been reporting on this case for 20 years.
“I feel bad that there was ever any doubt cast on her. But we were only reporting what the police were reporting to us,” stated Swan.
Bisbee police did collect DNA evidence at the scene of the crime. Swan published those findings in May of 2002.
“On a stainless-steel Eddie Bauer coffee mug the lab discovered a mixture of DNA,” said Swan as she read a copy of that news article print.
As of 2002, law enforcement knew that the DNA collected in Bisbee, Mesa, and Gilbert matched the same suspect.
The Department of Public Safety Crime Lab in Tucson was the agency matching the DNA back then, according to police records.
“Nobody had a name, there was no way to trace it,” expressed Swan.
A search warrant revealed that the same news article from 2002, that Swan published nearly 20 years ago, was allegedly found in Daly's home this past summer in Hereford.
“It sent chills down my spine,” said Swan.
“The terrifying thing about this predator is that he was ritualistic. You don’t have that kind of ritualistic collecting items from your victims unless you are a very busy predator and there’s a lot more victims,” said Cadigan.
How can a man accused of such terrible crimes serve in law enforcement and never get caught?
Lunch dates and DNA were the two techniques used by a Border Patrol agent to help capture John Joseph Daly III.
The suspected East Valley Serial Rapist, John Joseph Daly III, became a border patrol agent in Nov. 1999. Daly swore an oath to defend the constitution of the United States and uphold its laws, but according to police records, that same month, he allegedly raped a woman in Mesa. He allegedly did it again within a year in Gilbert and allegedly again in 2001 in Bisbee.
In total, he is suspected of raping eight women and would brag to victims about never getting caught.
The ABC15 Investigators obtained court recordings of the border patrol agent in action and of a Mesa detective who also helped solve the 20-year cold case.
“He told the victim, ‘you can tell your husband, you can tell the police, but they're just going to be upset because they can't find me because I don't leave any evidence,” said Mesa Police Department Detective Derek Samuel during a court hearing in May in Cochise County.
According to court records, the police did find saliva samples at the crime scenes.
Since Daly was in law enforcement and had no criminal record, his DNA could not be found in the FBI DNA database.
However, 20 years later, newer technology and a clever detective figured out who those DNA samples allegedly belonged to.
“Through the Bode Laboratory in Virginia, it’s where I did my genealogical testing,” stated Detective Samuel, who used genealogy to solve the case.
“It came back with an individual's name that I ended up having to try to track down adoption records and things for that person, they then developed the tree from that, which produced the name of John Daly,” said Samuel.
But he still needed a newer DNA sample to confirm Daly's DNA matched the East Valley serial rapist profile.
“I called him up one day and told him, ‘hey I'm in town, would you like to have lunch?’ He agreed,” said United States Border patrol operations officer Ryan Holden.
Daly never expected a border patrol agent he knew would be the one to get the DNA police used to arrest him.
Undercover FBI agents watched them closely while they had lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Sierra Vista.
“A couple of FBI agents at the restaurant collected samples of his silverware, things like that after we left the restaurant. Once there was an arrest warrant secure, I again, engaged Mr. Daly in conversation and invited him to lunch,” said Holden.
Daly was on his way to their lunch date when he was arrested in May near the same restaurant.
“There’s good police officers, good border patrol agents, but unfortunately we have run into a lot of cases here where border patrol agents have...been charged with sexual assault crimes. They’re out there, but you don’t know who everybody is,” said Swan.
If you or someone you know may have additional information regarding Daly, please call the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211.