Police say man posing as rideshare driver responsible for fourth kidnapping case

Austin police said a man who kidnapped three women earlier this year, while posing as their rideshare driver, is also responsible for a kidnapping case in 2017. 

Police said 46-year-old Daniel Kifle faces charges of attempted sexual assault and kidnapping.

A detective said there are other open investigations Kifle may have been involved in as well.

“APD did an involvement check on him, which showed he had previous involvement with us matching the same type of motive,” said Austin Police Detective Juan Mata Jr.

The details of all four cases are eerily similar. Officers said each woman got into Kifle's black SUV after a night of drinking on West 6th Street. They either assumed or were told by Kifle that he was their rideshare driver. 

“He wasn't on the app at the moment. He wasn't actually taking a rideshare. He was posing as a rideshare. Although, he was employed working for Uber and Lyft at the time,” Mata said.  

All of the victims fell asleep in Kifle's car during the drive. Three of them were with someone else at the time. Police said Kifle used the same plan to get the victims alone in all of those cases. 

“Once they arrived at the destination, the witness gets out to go and help the victim get out. Once the witness gets out, the driver takes off with the female,” said Mata.  

Two of the victims from cases in early June reported Kifle tried to sexually assault them. Police are still working to determine if he acted the same way in the newly linked 2017 case.

“Unfortunately, the victim doesn't recall much of what happened to her. She recalls meeting the young man that she was with and then next recalls waking up and she's in the Guadalupe area,” Mata said.  

However, police said when the victim woke up in a 7-Eleven parking lot, her shoes were off and her underwear was missing. They are waiting for DNA evidence to confirm what else happened. 

Police said Kifle drove for Lyft, Uber and Yellowcab in the past. They warn people to take precautions when jumping into what they believe is their rideshare. 

“My advice would be to make sure everything matches up on your app before you get into the vehicle,” said Mata.  

GPS data from Lyft helped officers connect Kifle to the crimes. Police are still sorting through their records to see if he is responsible for any other cases.

Police are also concerned there could be other victims that haven't come forward. 

They ask anyone who experienced something similar or recognizes Kifle as their driver to call and report that information.