A suspected serial rapist is behind bars after one of his alleged victims came forward saying he tried to set her on fire. Austin police are investigating nine other cases where the charges include aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping.
Police believe there are more victims out there but they say the victims may be hesitant to report the crime. They are asking them to come forward and help with this case.
27-year-old Nicodemo Coria-Gonzalez faces six charges. He admitted to picking up prostitutes and beating them out of anger.
APD Detective Robert Thompson says, "Sometimes when somebody is trying to pickup a prostitute, a lot of times they go out on the understanding of "hey offering a ride" to try to keep it low key of them looking for prostitutes. They'll offer women rides. So in some of these cases he was genuinely offering rides to people that were accepting it just as a ride...not necessarily thinking prostitution was being involved in it."
Coria-Gonzalez, who is an undocumented immigrant, would then reportedly take the women to a secluded area off Ferguson Lane which he called his garden. That's where police say he would violently sexually assault the victims.
"I think on face value he led probably a normal life where he goes to work during the day and comes home in the afternoon and late nights goes looking for women," Det. Thompson says.
Police say about half of the women were admitted prostitutes.
In one case the victim changed her mind after feeling uneasy and asked to be let go. Instead she says Coria-Gonzalez pulled her out of his car and proceeded to pour gasoline around her on the grass.
Det. Thompson says, "It started off simply as picking up prostitutes. And, during that escalation, where the violence wasn't severe, but, there definitely was an escalation to where the latest victim, where the gas was poured around her, she did not believe that sex was a part of his intent at all. It strictly was to take her out there and potentially light her on fire."
A 68-year-old woman was another victim of sexual assault.
Coria-Gonzalez was also under investigation for stabbing a woman. Surveillance video from a nearby store that day helped police make an identification which led to his arrest.
"There was a lot of internal justification for what he was doing...giving himself a reason for what he did rather than fully admit to what he did," Det. Thopmson says.
Police say Coria-Gonzalez is not connected to the series of sexual assaults along hike and bike trails in Northwest Austin.
Coria-Gonzalez is currently being held without bond on an immigration detainer.