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Man charged in 4 LoDo sex assaults targeted women outside bars, prosecutors say

A man charged in connection with four sexual assaults is accused of targeting women as they left LoDo bars by offering them a ride home.

DENVER — A man charged with sexually assaulting four women was targeting women as they left bars in LoDo by offering them rides home, according to a release from the Denver District Attorney's Office.

Byron L. Whitehorn, 50, is charged in connection with four sexual assaults that he allegedly began committing in 2017, the DA's office said. He sexually assaulted the women in his 2005 Audi A4 sedan and then drove them home, according to prosecutors.

DNA evidence collected from the most recent assault, which was reported in December 2018, matched three other sex assault cases, Denver prosecutors said.

Whitehorn is in custody and is due in court Feb. 26.

Here's a list of reported incidents from police: 

  • April 9, 2017 — Lodo’s Bar & Grill, 1946 Market St.
  • October 14, 2017 —  Jackson’s Lodo, 1520 20th St.
  • January 28, 2018 — Lodo’s Bar & Grill 1946 Market St.
  • December 14, 2018 – The Ginn Mill, 2041 Larimer St.

Denver police and prosecutors believe there could be more victims and are asking others to come forward by calling 720-913-2000.

An arrest warrant provided by the Denver District Attorney details the latest attack. According to the warrant, the victim wanted to leave the Ginn Mill at 12:45 a.m. after admitting she had too much to drink. The warrant says her roommate stayed at the bar and that she was seen on video leaving the Ginn Mill alone just 15 minutes later.

The victim ordered an Uber to take her home, the warrant says. As she was walking, Whitehorn pulled up next to her and asked if she needed help, according to the arrest warrant. The affidavit says she told him she was waiting for her Uber but that Whitehorn took it from her, canceled the Uber and then offered to take her home.

According to the affidavit, the victim says she was very drunk and doesn't remember a lot from that night. The report says Whitehorn took the victim in his car to 21st and Lawrence streets to a parking lot and then sexually assaulted her. 

He then took her to her home in Lakewood, the report says. Before she'd gotten out of the vehicle, she messaged her roommate saying that she just got raped, according to the affidavit. Whitehorn then reportedly took the victim's phone as she was trying to call her boyfriend and told her, "Let's do this again," before adding his number to her phone under his first name and giving it back to her.

When the victim got out of the car around 2 a.m., Whitehorn got out to follow her after she tried to make a call, the affidavit says. She turned around and asked Whitehorn to stop following her and he got back into his car to leave. The victim told investigators she had no idea how Whitehorn knew where she lived and said she didn't tell him. 

According to the affidavit, Whitehorn's actions in the Ginn Mill case matched one other from 2018 and two others from 2017. In October, the state's Combined DNA Index System - a term used to describe the FBI's program of support for criminal justice DNA databases - matched the DNA from the Ginn Mill case to the three others.

In addition, investigators left the suspect a voicemail after getting the number Whitehorn allegedly left on the victim's phone from it, the warrant says. Whitehorn then called the investigator back and left a voicemail, saying he doesn't know who the victim is and denies taking anyone home from the Ginn Mill that night. He went on to say he may have "made out" with the victim but doesn't know who she is. He then said he didn't rape anyone but that he and his friends go out every weekend to "meet girls and [make] out with them," the warrant says.

Investigators then looked at Whitehorn's car - a 2005 Audi A4. It was white with tan seats, the warrant says. According to investigators, two of the victims remembered a white sedan when they were attacked. One remembered the interior was tan. Another witness remembered the suspect's car was "low to the ground."

According to the warrant, one victim identified their attacker to a sketch artist and a composite sketch was done. Then Whitehorn's Facebook page was sent to the sketch artist who said "there is a close match to the facial composite." On Jan. 3 of this year, investigators said they got in touch with Whitehorn and told him they had a court order to obtain his saliva samples. According to the report, Whitehorn showed up that Friday to provide the samples. Later that day, DPD's Crime Lab notified investigators that the DNA from the samples Whitehorn provided matched what was found on the victims' swabs. 

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