Tyshane Vris Thomas, 20
Police arrest suspect in three unsolved sexual assault cases
San Marcos Police have arrested a suspect in three unsolved sexual assault cases, including last Thursday’s sexual assault reported at The Retreat.
Tyshane Vris Thomas, 20, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of aggravated sexual assault, according to county jail records.
According to the probable cause affidavit for Thomas’ arrest, on May 2, an SMPD officer responded to an aggravated sexual assault call at The Retreat apartments, where he spoke with two residents who described the incident. The first resident made contact with the subject in the kitchen, and the subject led her into the second resident’s bedroom at gunpoint. The second resident tried to wrestle the gun from the subject, who strangled her several times to the point where she felt she was going to pass out. The subject then sexually assaulted the two women for approximately two and a half hours, the affidavit reads. The subject then ordered the two women to change clothes and shower and spoke on the phone to an unknown person and said he was with the two women and continually responded “yes sir” as he spoke.
On Tuesday, SMPD responded to the Sanctuary Lofts Apartments regarding found property. An employee had found a backpack beneath a stairwell with the name “Tyshane Thomas” written on it in marker, the affidavit states. Inside the backpack, SMPD discovered numerous items consistent with items allegedly used by the subject and taken during the incident at The Retreat. SMPD located Thomas, who admitted the backpack was his during an interview with police. Also on May 7, a Texas Ranger presented a photo line-up to one of the victims at The Retreat. From Thomas’ drivers license photo and five filler photos, the victim identified Thomas as the man who raped her.
According to a press release from the city, internal department records led officers to an apartment at the Sanctuary Lofts where Thomas was thought to reside with his girlfriend. Officers contacted Thomas there, and he agreed to accompany them to the SMPD headquarters for questioning. He spoke to detectives for several hours, the press release said, and confessed to three sexual assault crimes and one burglary that occurred in San Marcos on April 24, April 30 and May 2. Officers obtained a search warrant for the apartment where Thomas was staying and found other items believed to be related to prior assaults, including duct tape, zip ties and personal lubricant.
The press release states that Thomas was a recent criminal justice student at Texas State University, last attending in Fall 2018.
Chief Chase Stapp praised the work of everyone involved in the investigation of these crimes.
“This is a stellar example of the outstanding and tireless work done on a daily basis by members of this department,” the chief said in a press release. “It is also a great example of the effective relationships we have with our state and local partners.” We are very thankful for the assistance we have received from the Texas Rangers and the FBI Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force. We are also indebted to the observant citizen who decided to report something that was obviously suspicious and ultimately provided the break needed in this case.”
At an interview held at City Hall on Wednesday, Stapp said, “Obviously, I would’ve preferred that it not happen at all. It’s terrifying, really heartbreaking that it happened at all in our community. But I’m elated that he’s in custody. I think people can sleep easier at night now knowing that he is in custody.
“We’ve been, as I mentioned last week, all hands on deck. We’ve been conducting extra patrols. We’ve had help from our outside partners at the sheriff’s office, DPS and Texas State. They’ve all been helping us with extra patrols. It’s nice to know that everybody can kind of get back to what’s normal.”
This investigation is ongoing, and detectives encourage anyone who may have additional information about these crimes to contact the San Marcos Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 512-753-2108, extension 4.