Serial rapes suspect briefly worked at motel where he was arrested

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by TERESA WOODARD / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Alamo Plaza Motel is in a rough part of Baton Rouge, and many of the occupants are down on their luck.

Accused serial rapist Van Dralen Dixson, 38, must have thought it was a good place to hide out.

He rolled into Baton Rouge on a bus Sunday because, according to U.S. Marshals, it's as far away from Dallas as he could afford to get. The Alamo Plaza Motel is about two miles from the Greyhound bus station.

"He stayed with us two nights," said a motel employee who did not want to be identified. "Then he said he couldn't afford the third, so he asked if he could do some odd jobs to cover the cost."

One of his first jobs was a repairing a plumbing problem in a resident named Pam's room. She declined to give her last name.

"He was working here and he fixed my toilet," she said. "I was laying down and he was just looking. I didn't know who he was. He had said he had done something up north - that someone had beat his daughter, he jumped on him, and killed him. But little did I know he was a serial rapist."

And he was inside her room.

"Yeah the look," she said, thinking about being in the room with him, "the look he gave me -- it wasn't natural. It was a scary look on his face, and the way he was talking."

At that moment, Pam had no idea Dixson was a wanted man from Dallas. Neither did hotel managers, they say. They also put him to work ripping up their parking lot, preparing it to be resurfaced.

Dallas detectives had developed information that Dixson might have left town on a bus. They determined, based on the time he was believed to have boarded, he might have been headed to Baton Rouge.

U.S. Marshals in Baton Rouge got word Dixson might have been in their city Monday night. Tuesday, they went to the bus station and circulated his picture and were told he had headed to the Alamo Plaza Motel.

While Dixson was working there, U.S. Marshals were closing in. They took him into custody in the parking lot, where he'd been ripping up asphalt.

Dallas detectives arrived in Baton Rouge late Tuesday night. It's unclear if Dixson is cooperating with their questioning.

Around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Dixson was moved from a holding facility to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. He was wearing a tank top, sweat pants, sneakers, and the same gold-rimmed glasses Dallas victims described.

He was being held on a $5 million bond late Wednesday afternoon, with a time and date for a court appearance before a Louisiana magistrate not yet scheduled.

Pam looks back on the short interaction with Dixson and is frightened.

"Scary. Real scary. Very, very scary," she said over and over. She's relieved she was never alone with him. Her 22-year-old son was with her.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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