Fort Worth traveling nurse accused of sexual assaulting nurses in New Mexico, Arizona
FORT WORTH, Texas - A traveling nurse from Fort Worth was arrested in North Texas on charges of sexual assault out of New Mexico and Arizona.
Dustin Hopper was arrested at his home in Fort Worth on Monday. He’s accused of attacking two female nurses in New Mexico and Arizona.
Police say two victims have come forward so far, but they are concerned this is a pattern of behavior. Since Hopper was a traveling nurse, they're urging any other possible victims to come forward.
Law enforcement in Gallup, New Mexico and the town of Fort Defiance, Arizona, have been looking for Hopper after two female nurses came forward with sexual assault accusations.
“Our investigator has been working hand in hand with the investigator from Apache County,” said Gallup Police Capt. Eric Toadlena-Pablo. “Because everything just seemed like it was too coincidental as far as the two incidents that occurred.”
Gallup police say a nurse who met Hopper through friends reported he raped her in his motel room on August 11.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the victim said "Dustin put his right shoulder into her chest to keep her from moving away and leaving" during the assault and had also placed his gun on the nightstand.
As police were investigating the case, they called Hopper's employer at Fort Defiance Hospital in Arizona and found out about a second case where Hopper was accused of sexually assaulting another nurse co-worker.
“It wasn’t just one incident we’re looking into. It had occurred again,” Toadlena-Pablo said. “So we really wanted to make sure we got this guy apprehended because we started to see a pattern.”
By then, investigators say Hopper had fled. They put out an alert on Facebook, and Fort Worth police got a tip on where he was.
“We knew he had warrants out of another agency,” said Fort Worth Police Officer Tracy Carter. “So we were able to go in there and apprehend him without incident.”
Hopper is currently a registered nurse in Texas. According to the Texas Board of Nursing, he has no disciplinary action against him. He's since been terminated from his contract with Fort Defiance Hospital, but police are concerned he could have targeted other victims.
“Especially because he’s a traveling nurse, we don’t know what other areas he’s worked in. If there’s any other incidents that have been unreported,” Toadlena-Pablo said. “People out there who maybe didn’t have the opportunity to come forth because of maybe embarrassment or maybe they were afraid. That we’ve had two victims come forward to get this process moving.”
Hopper is being held in the Tarrant County jail. Authorities in Gallup have already started the process to extradite hopper back to New Mexico to face charges.