A man linked to two violent sexual assaults that happened in San Diego more than two months ago has been arrested in Arizona, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Jeremiah Williams, 24, is accused of two attacks on two separate victims: an Aug. 13 assault in University City and an assault one day later at a Motel 6, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Capt. Brian Ahearn said.
Earlier this week, the SDPD asked for the public's continued help in tracking down the suspect.
After a lengthy manhunt led by multiple agencies and spanning several states including California, Texas, Arizona and Illinois, police announced a break in the case Wednesday.
SDPD Lt. Paul Phillips, of the Sex Crimes Unit, said Williams had been arrested on Oct. 27 on West Crown King Drive in Tolleson, Arizona.
Officers from the Arizona Wanted Violent Offender Task Force received a tip about Williams in the area, which led to his arrest. Williams was booked into the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona for outstanding warrants.
Phillips said leads and tips from the public were a critical part of helping authorities capture Williams.
“Many long hours were put into searching for Williams,” the lieutenant explained.
The lieutenant said Williams had been staying in Arizona at the time of his arrest, although Phillips wasn't sure how long he had been there.
Phillips said that, at this point, investigators are not aware of any additional assault cases linked to Williams, but the investigation is ongoing.
"There's a lot of work to be done," he added.
Williams was identified as the suspect in both cases early on.
According to police, physical evidence from the scene of the University City sex assault linked Williams as the suspect. In this assault, a woman was attacked at the Venetian Condominiums in the 3900 block of Nobel Drive after she was dropped off at the complex by a friend.
It was 10:30 p.m. and, as the woman walked to her apartment, she felt as if someone was following her.
Before the victim could unlock the door to her home, Williams allegedly knocked her to the ground and demanded money at gunpoint. After giving him money, the woman was dragged into her apartment where police said she was beaten and sexually assaulted.
Three days after that attack, SDPD officers were called to Sharp Memorial Hospital for a report of another assault.
In that case, a 23-year-old woman told police she had been violently sexually assaulted on Aug. 14 at a Motel 6 located at 4380 Alvarado Canyon Road in Mission Valley.
"The suspect, who she had recently met, entered her room choked and sexually assaulted her and then hit her in the head with a hand gun," Ahearn said.
Sex crimes detectives went to the motel and collected evidence. During their investigation, detectives learned that police officers had been called out to the incident at the motel on Aug. 14 at 10:45 p.m. The call had come in as a man hitting a woman.
That night, witnesses told police they heard the victim yell for help, and saw a suspect flee on foot. The Motel 6 manager told NBC 7 that the victim smashed a window in the room and drove off in a car before police arrived at the scene.
In a strange twist, the SDPD said officers with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) had detained Williams that night, after the incident at the motel, for possession of a firearm. He was cited for a firearm violation and released.
Back at Motel 6, officers found a crime scene, but no victim.
It wasn't until Aug. 17, when the victim went to Sharp Memorial Hospital and reported the assault, that investigators linked the victim to the Motel 6 incident. The woman's description of her attacker matched the description of the man accused in the University City assault.
During the investigation, through physical evidence and victim interviews, detectives identified Williams as the suspect in both cases.
Investigators launched a manhunt for Williams, and warned the public that the suspect was considered armed and dangerous.
The San Diego County District Attorney's Office confirmed Wednesday that Williams will be extradited back to San Diego at an undisclosed date.
“We anticipate bringing him back shortly to face charges,” Phillips added an afternoon news briefing.
The SDPD said he will face multiple charges related to the two sexual assaults from August. Williams has a criminal background in California and Texas.
Anyone with information on these cases can call the SDPD's Sex Crimes Unit at (619) 531-2210.