Chicago police late Wednesday night released a man they'd been questioning in connection with the sexual assaults of two women and a 14-year-old girl earlier in the day.
The release means the search continues for the rapist who authorities described as a dark-complected black male in his early 20s. He had a thin build, standing about 6 feet tall and weighing between 150 and 170 pounds. Police said he had medium-length dreadlocks and was wearing a dark grey or black T-shirt, blue jeans and black gym shoes.
The attacks on the city's south side all happened within a three-hour span and were made by the same man, officials said.
In the first attack, police said a 40-year-old mother and her 22-year-old daughter were assaulted around 4:15 a.m. inside their home on the 10300 block of South Emerald Avenue.
A family member told NBC Chicago the man entered the older woman's bedroom and put a knife to her throat. The woman's daughter heard her screaming and entered the room, where the man assaulted both of them, the family member, Pazazz Pollard, said. He stole the women's IDs, credit cards and cell phones before leaving.
"She's very upset and scared," Pollard said of the 22-year-old woman. "The guy told her if they called police he would come back and kill them both."
Another incident occurred at about 6:40 a.m. when a 14-year-old girl was walking to a bus stop on the 10000 block of South Peoria. Police said the girl was approached by an unknown male who dragged her to a nearby yard and assaulted her.
In an incident police believe is connected to those two attacks, an 11-year-old girl sleeping in her home on the 10100 block of South Green Street woke up at about 5:30 a.m. to find a man hiding in her closet.
Family members said girl woke up when the family dog started barking. The girl thought it was a monster, they said, and started screaming.
"She was sure she saw someone peeking out of the closet and yelled and screamed," her father, Edward Whiten, said.
Whiten rushed into his daughter's room in time to see a man jump head-first out the window. The girl was not injured or touched. Her family said she described the suspect as looking like a high school-age teenager with dread-locks.
"Thank god we had this dog," Whiten said
The family said it appears the man gained entrance to the window by stepping on a garbage can.
Anyone with information about the assaults are asked to call the Area South Detective Division at 312-747-8271.