Rape suspect once faced murder charges

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned that a man arrested in connection with a rape investigation has been previously arrested in connection with two homicides.

Police used "the maintenance man rapist" nickname to describe the rapist because they said he would approach unsuspecting women at apartment complexes and get in the door pretending to fix something.

“He may have come in, and he might have said something to the victims to make them think he was doing maintenance work,” said Atlanta police cold case investigator A.B. Calhoun.

On Tuesday, Daniel Wade, 62, was indicted on five rape charges tied to sexual assaults in metro Atlanta in the 1980s. Police believe he may be linked to as many as 29 rapes.

Channel 2 Action News learned that in 1973, Atlanta police arrested Wade on a murder charge, but according to a newspaper article from the time, he walked out of an unlocked detention room.   At the time, a critical witness refused to testify, and the district attorney didn’t go forward with the case. The case is still an open investigation. 

In 1975, Wade was charged in a different murder, but it was downgraded to manslaughter, and Wade served one year.  Police believe Wade went on to commit a series of rapes.

On Wednesday, Atlanta police investigators were also able to finally link him to the cases.

“Over the years, we had information that these cases were linked because of the DNA, but we had no identification as to whose profile it was,” said GBI forensic biologist Cleveland Miles.

Miles manages the GBI Crime Lab’s DNA section, and he showed Channel 2 Action News the equipment they used to make the DNA matches. Miles explained that Wade’s DNA was entered into the national database in 2011, because he was convicted of a federal crime. Analysts were then able to make matches on eight sexual assaults in Gwinnett, Fulton, and DeKalb counties.

“As long as the evidence is preserved properly. We’ve gone back to cases from the '80s and been able to generate a full profile for the purposes of matches,” said Miles.