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Rape suspect captured

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Law enforcement officials speaking at the press conference said it was a traffic stop by a Brentwood patrol officer that led to the arrest.

Burdick was arrested Thursday as he traveled east on I-24 in Rutherford County. That county’s Interstate Interdiction Unit made the stop at the request of Metro and Brentwood police detectives who learned from officials at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab shortly after 9 a.m. that Burdick’s DNA matched biological samples recovered from many of the crime scenes. He was turned over to investigators from Metro, Brentwood, Wilson County and the TBI.

The traffic stop that set Burdick’s arrest in motion was made by Brentwood Police Officer Elliott Hamm. Brentwood Police received a call from a citizen in the Meadowlake subdivision about a suspicious person and Hamm went to investigate. He said he found the suspect’s vehicle located along a street about 1:30 a.m., Monday.

The citizen had reported seeing someone dressed in black, wearing a ski mask and carrying a flashlight. Hamm stopped Burdick’s Jeep as it was leaving the area. The suspect said he had attended a party in the area and had to park on the street.

Burdick refused Hamm’s request to search the Jeep. Hamm recorded Burdick’s information, allowed him to proceed and then forwarded the details to the Brentwood Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

That traffic stop prompted Metro and Brentwood officers, who have been working together on the case since 1999, to do round-the-clock surveillance of Burdick.

"He’s a very dangerous person," said Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, who with Major Don Hamblen, attended the press conference.

Hamblen, Sgt. Det. Jeff Johnson and Det. Brian Harbaugh investigated the case in Wilson County.

The rape of the 16-year-old occurred Feb. 1. "Wilson County has the last victim," Ashe told the assembled media and law enforcement personnel.

Ashe and Hamblen informed the teen and her family of Burdick’s arrest on Thursday, before the press conference.

They noted the victim and her family were appreciative and relieved.

Burdick is believed to have mostly broken into victims’ homes when it was dark outside. He was reportedly wearing a mask and was known to use pistols and cutting instruments as weapons during the assaults.

Burdick used a knife in the attack of the Wilson County girl, Ashe said.

She was assaulted in the driveway of her home late at night. Hamblen said there was a wooded area nearby from which the suspect is believed to have emerged.

The sheriff declined to say much about the case to try and protect the girl’s identity. He did say she and her family resided in a home off of Highway 109, north of the interstate.

Ashe and Hamblen noted that the victim did have some acquaintance with the suspect.

Burdick, according to a news release, is a principal in WB Technologies, a company that is at 2201 Murfreesboro Pike and which specializes in burglar alarm technology.

He has not been charged in the Wilson County case, Ashe said, but is expected to go before the grand jury in about two weeks.

Ashe and Hamblen had high praise for Hamm, the Brentwood officer. "He deserves a lot of credit for putting us in a good direction," Hamblen noted.

"These crimes are reprehensible," said Metro Nashville Police Chief Ronal Serpas. He said if there are others who believe they might be victims of the suspect, they should call any of the three law enforcement agencies to report the incidents.

Chief Ricky Watson of the BPD said Hamm "was very diligent in his patrol duties," and credited his actions with making the arrest possible. "I told him he’s changed lives today."

Watson also added that his investigators "have concluded without a doubt, this is the rapist" in the Brentwood cases, at least three of them, due to DNA evidence.

"This has been a long, long law enforcement investigation," said Nashville-Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson.

Johnson said two years ago, the Davidson County grand jury returned a multi-count indictment against an individual named "John Doe" with a specific DNA profile. The indictment includes five counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape, one count of attempted rape, one count of aggravated assault and six counts of aggravated burglary. The "John Doe" designation will now be replaced with Burdick’s name.

Kim Helper, district attorney in Williamson County, noted that often, breaks in cases "do come at the patrol level." She praised the efforts of the three law enforcement agencies involved and like the others who spoke also thanked the officials at the TBI Crime Lab for their efforts.

Johnson said Burdick will likely be arraigned in a Nashville courtroom in about two weeks.

Serpas noted during the press conference that Burdick had not said anything to investigators. He is being held without bond in the Metro Jail.

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