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Manhunt on for alleged serial rapist

If you have information regarding the suspect's whereabouts please call the Tucson Police Department tip-line at 791-4939, or 88-CRIME.
By David Halperin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday August 26, 2002

Detectives link James Allen Selby's DNA to five local sex crimes, plus ten other assaults

A warrant issued for a man suspected in several campus area sex crimes has left UA students and the campus community with heightened concerns for safety as police engage in a multi-state manhunt.

The Tucson Police Department charged 35-year-old James Allen Selby on Aug. 16 in connection with four campus area assaults beginning last October. The charges include attempted murder, three counts of sexual assault, one count of aggravated assault and one count of kidnapping.

Selby was seen in Tucson on Aug. 16 and is considered "very dangerous," said Lt. Brett Klein, sex crimes section commander for the Tucson Police Department.

Flyers of Selby are now located in residence halls, garages and local bars asking the public to assist in his apprehension.

He is 5-foot-9 inches tall, 180 pounds, has brown hair, blue eyes, and a tattoo on his upper right arm of a skull with a cowboy hat and handkerchief. He is believed to be driving a 1985 tan Chrysler New Yorker.

The television program "America's Most Wanted" has also come to Tucson to report on Selby, who is believed to be responsible for 15 sex crimes over the past four years against women in Tucson, San Diego, Oklahoma and Nevada.

The attention to security of returning and incoming UA students', as well as their parents, has been raised as a result of such crimes.

"(The sexual assaults) are a major concern for parents sending their kids away for the first time," said UA parent Beth Schnepp, "You hope security systems here will be on top of everything."

"A lot of people might not know about (Selby), everyone needs to be aware," said political science senior Michelle Smith, "(Police) need to do everything they can to catch this guy."

Police were able to obtain a warrant for Selby's arrest after the Cleveland County Sheriff's Department near Norman, Okla., entered information in a DNA database from a sexual assault there.

That information matched with DNA that Tucson police had from the five assaults in the Tucson area and the other similar crimes in San Diego.

Investigators contacted police in Norman and were able to match the DNA with Selby.

In Tucson, Selby is linked to four campus area assaults plus a fifth one in May south of UA.

The first reported sexual assault occurred on Oct. 3 when a 20-year-old woman was sexually assaulted near campus on East Adams Street.

Earlier that day, a man had entered the home of a woman living across the street to demand money.

A 22-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in her home on East Blacklidge Drive on Oct. 31.

The fourth incident occurred Jan. 11, at about 12:35 a.m., when a man entered a home near North First Avenue and Roger Road, and physically assaulted a juvenile female.

Police believe Selby is most recently responsible for a May 30 assault in which a 27-year-old woman said a man entered her home near East 22nd Street and South Fifth Avenue and sexually assaulted her.

From 1997-2001, the combined number of sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults reported to UAPD never exceeded six in a single year.

In the 2001-2002 academic year, nine sex crimes were reported, including six in a single week in late April.

At that time, Sgt. Mike Smith of UAPD had said it was the most serious group of sex crimes he had seen in his ten years with UAPD.

"Detectives are investigating about 170 leads all over the city," said Officer Kathy Wendling of the Tucson Police Department's Office of Public Information.

Commander Brain Seastone of the UAPD said that although a suspect has been named for several assaults, there are still no leads in other campus area sex crimes at the Park Avenue Garage and La Paz Residence Hall.

"I think (students) need to be worried about Mr. Selby definitely, and people always need to be aware of their surroundings, " Seastone said.

"Safety and security is at a more heightened awareness than in the past," said Patrick Call, Associate Director of Residential Education.

Call said residence life encourages students to utilize basic safety measures while in and around residence halls as well as campus programs such as SafeRide, a nightly escort service that provides rides for students on or near campus.

"It's scary that at anytime and any place there can be someone wanting to take advantage of a girl," said Andi Lee, an undeclared freshman.


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