A man suspected of sexually assaulting more than 12 women in New Mexico and Texas and trying to kill a Pueblo, Colo., police officer has prompted inquiries from investigators in Kansas, authorities said Wednesday.
Robert Howard Bruce, 47, of Pueblo is being held in the Pueblo County jail on $3 million bail on charges including attempted first-degree murder and being a fugitive. Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said his investigators have been in contact with authorities in Lawrence, Kan., about Bruce. Taylor said the reason for their interest wasn't clear.
Pueblo County prosecutors allege Bruce tried to kill an officer who was to testify against him in a Peeping Tom case. DNA from the attempted-murder case linked Bruce to 11 sexual assaults in Albuquerque, N.M., starting in 1991 and one in Austin, Texas, in 2006, New Mexico authorities said.
Bruce is also suspected in three rapes in Lubbock, Texas, because of similarities with the New Mexico cases, Lubbock police Capt. Greg Stevens said.
Taylor's investigators also have fielded inquiries from police in Fort Collins, Colo., who are looking into whether Bruce was involved in at least two sexual assaults in 2008, spokeswoman Rita Davis told the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper.
The assailant in the Albuquerque cases was dubbed the “Ether Man” because victims were rendered unconscious with a chemical-soaked rag, although police say the chemical wasn’t ether.
New Mexico authorities have issued a warrant for Bruce’s arrest on charges including sexual assault, kidnapping, battery and burglary.