Man charged in sexual assault of 76-year-old at Henry County senior living community

Investigators have charged a man in the sexual assault of a 76-year-old woman last month at a Henry County senior living community.

Credit: McDonough Police Department

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Investigators have charged a man in the sexual assault of a 76-year-old woman last month at a Henry County senior living community.

Credit: McDonough Police Department

Authorities have arrested a man accused of sexually assaulting a 76-year-old woman inside her apartment at a McDonough senior living community — and police say he lived less than a mile from where the attack occurred.

After weeks of investigating and asking the public for assistance, police said it was DNA evidence that helped identify 29-year-old Travale Lamar Farris as a suspect in the high-profile case.

“We spared no time and we lost a lot of sleep, but we got what we believe to be the person in custody that is responsible for this,” Henry County Sheriff Reginald Scandrett told reporters Tuesday.

He said those living in Henry “can sleep a little bit better” after the arrest, especially older residents.

ExploreSuspect sought after sexual assault at McDonough senior living complex

Farris lives less than a mile from the Heritage at McDonough Senior Living Complex where the woman was attacked Feb. 5, police said. Investigators previously released surveillance video of the suspect going door to door at the complex off Bridges Road, around the time the woman was assaulted. The man was shown walking around the community checking to see if any doors were unlocked until he found one that was.

Following the attack, police said Farris “casually walked out of the apartment.”

A $12,500 reward had been offered for information leading to an arrest in the case, but investigators linked Farris to the assault using DNA evidence from the scene, according to McDonough police Maj. Kyle Helgerson.

“Yesterday, we received information from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Division of Forensic Science,” he said at a joint news conference. “The information we received from them was a DNA match to our suspect.”

In Georgia, DNA samples are collected from most prison inmates within 30 days of their incarceration. Those samples are then stored in a national database run by the FBI, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. While it doesn’t appear Farris has ever been convicted of a sexual assault in Georgia, records show he spent more than a year at the Muscogee County Prison after being convicted of burglary and theft by taking charges in Douglas County. He was released in December 2017.

After Monday’s DNA match, investigators obtained warrants for Farris’ arrest and a search warrant for his McDonough home, authorities said. The Henry County SWAT team took him into custody Tuesday morning after finding Farris in the back bedroom of a house on Adams Circle.

Authorities believe Farris acted alone in last month’s attack, but would not say whether he has been linked to any other sexual assaults.

The McDonough man is charged with rape, aggravated assault, sexual battery, burglary and false imprisonment, online records show. He was being held at the Henry County Jail on Tuesday afternoon without bond.

ExploreReward increased to $12,500 in sexual assault case at Henry senior home