Dallas police make arrest in cold cases from ’80s with DNA technology


The Dallas Police Department have arrested a suspect linked to four aggravated sexual assaults that took place in Dallas from 1982 to 1985.  The DNA from these Dallas cases matches the DNA obtained from two aggravated sexual assaults that occurred in 1980 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The arrest dates back to 2005, when the Dallas Police Department issued a press release which informed the public about the Sexual Assault Cold Case Program (SEACAP) and encouraged victims of a sexual assault which occurred in the 1970s or 1980s to contact the Sexual Assault Unit regarding the status of their case.  As a result of this press release, the survivor from the 1985 sexual assault contacted the Dallas Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit and requested that her case be reopened.  With advances in DNA technology, the evidence collected from her case and other related cases was submitted for further testing.  The testing was conducted over the next four years (2006-2010).  DNA profiles were obtained and uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database.  

It was discovered the suspect DNA from four Dallas cases matched the suspect DNA from two cases of a similar nature that occurred in 1980 in Shreveport.   There was no identifiable suspect. For years detectives investigated these cases and eliminated possible suspects through DNA. 

The suspect remained unidentified until 2020 when the unknown suspect’s DNA was subjected to genealogical research and analysis, which resulted in identifying David Thomas Hawkins, now 74 years old, as a suspect.  Hawkins was arrested at his home in Keene, Texas at approximately 6 a.m. on August 19, 2020.  He will be booked into the Dallas County Jail on a charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault.  More charges are expected to be filed in the coming weeks.

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Hawkins has a prior conviction for rape.  He was arrested in Fort Smith, Arkansas on 5/22/1973 and charged with Felony Rape.  He entered a plea of nolo contendere and was sentenced to 30 years confinement with 9 years suspended.  His DNA was never collected and entered in CODIS because it predated the requirement to do so. He was released on parole in 1977.  Hawkins has lived in Fort Worth and the surrounding area since that time. 

In each of the aggravated sexual assaults which occurred in Dallas, the suspect would break into the victim’s residence during the middle of the night, threaten the victim with a weapon and sexually assault her.

Here are the cases linked to Hawkins:

Date occurred:  December 18, 1982 at 12:00 a.m.

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Offense address:  6300 block of Shadybrook Lane

Service #0592874-N

Victim:  W/F/23

Date occurred:  January 3, 1983, at 3:00 a.m.

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Offense address:  7900 block of Treehouse

Service #0002984-P

Victim: W/F/35

Date occurred:  August 18, 1983, at 4:00 a.m.

Offense address:  5700 block of Caruth Haven

Service #378955-P

Victim:  W/F/25