A 21-year-old Watauga man with a history of mental illness is accused of raping three women whom he met on a social networking site.
LDarrius Djuan Garner is being held in the Tarrant County Jail with bail set at a combined $665,000. He is also accused of robbing a fourth woman.
Garner was initially arrested June 7 in connection with the rape of a 31-year-old woman, who told investigators that she had met the man on MeetMe.com.
Sgt. S.L. Thomson, supervisor of the sex crimes unit, said investigators identified other cases involving a similar method of operation, including communicating on Kik, an instant message app popular with teens.
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“The suspect befriended his victims and made plans to meet them,” Thomson said. “The suspect picked them up in his vehicle and drove them to remote areas. He frequently sexually assaulted them and robbed them using force, threat of force, and occasionally a weapon.”
In all, sex crime detectives D. Donovan, J. Davis and K. Adcock investigated nine encounters involving Garner that occurred between January and June. Four have so far led to charges, she said.
“There are still several active investigations that could result in additional charges,” she said. “Additionally, there are some victims who do not want to pursue criminal charges for personal reasons.”
Anyone with additional information about LDarrius Garner is asked to contact the Sex Crimes Unit at 817-392-4355.
Micheal Schneider, Garner’s defense attorney, said his office is in the early stages of conducting their own investigation.
“He doesn’t deny that he talked to multiple people online and he made friends online but he 100 percent denies that he forced anybody to have sexual relations against their will,” Schneider said. “He 100 percent denies that.”
Garner’s Facebook page indicates he has worked as a psychiatric technician. Thomson said police previously alerted his employer.
She said Fort Worth police have also shared information about Garner with area law enforcement agencies.
Police say the cases highlight the risks that can come with social networking sites.
Social media sites such as Meetme and Kik have a documented history of providing predators with a cloak of anonymity that they use to victimize unsuspecting men and women.
Detective D. Donovan
“Unfortunately this is not anything new,” Donovan said. “Social media sites such as MeetMe and Kik have a documented history of providing predators with a cloak of anonymity that they use to victimize unsuspecting men and women.
“While we cannot expect that people would refrain from using such sites, we should encourage heightened awareness and remind all members of the public of the dangers associated with meeting strangers online.”
Donovan said people will frequently lie about their age, history, physical appearance or even gender while creating online profiles. He said people should maintain the same level of awareness when meeting internet friends in person as they would when meeting anyone for the first time.
“Although we may feel a connection through shared interests and commonalities with new people that we meet online, we should all be mindful that these people are ultimately still strangers and could be victim seekers.”
MeetMe was sued in 2014 by the San Francisco city attorney over allegations that the social network’s lax privacy protections made underage teens vulnerable to targeting by sexual predators.
The case was settled in August after MeetNe agreed to implement safeguards.
The initial case
The 31-year-old woman told police that after meeting Garner on MeetMe, the two exchanged text messages and photos on Kik for about a week, according to an arrest warrant affidavit written by Adcock.
The 31-year-old victim said Garner then asked her to meet in her person and the two made plans for him to pick her up at her apartment complex after she got off work on May 8.
The woman said Garner initially drove her to a nearby park, where the two talked. But in the early morning hours of May 9, he suggested they go to a different park, she told police.
He then drove her to Mallard Cove Park, south of Texas 10 and east of Loop 820 on the West Fork of the Trinity River, where he attempted to kiss her in the car and grab her breast.
The woman told police she told Garner to stop and threatened to call the police if he didn’t.
She said Garner then got out of the car, came to her passenger side door and grabbed and slammed her wrist on the console, causing her to drop her phone. He then pocketed her phone and told her calling police “would be a stupid thing to do,” according to the affidavit.
The woman told police that Garner then forced her to give him oral sex before making her walk with him into the park. She said he then raped her on a park bench, threatening that he would kill her and throw her into a nearby pond if she didn’t comply.
The victim told police the Garner later dropped her off at an intersection and ordered her not to tell anyone what happened.
The victim called a friend to come get her and later reported the rape to the Pantego police. Initially believing the sexual assault took place in Euless, the case was forwarded to a Euless police detective.
The victim was able to provide the Euless detective the suspect’s name and direct him to Garner’s Facebook page. The case was then forwarded to Fort Worth police after it was determined that the assault actually occurred in their jurisdiction.
Arrest warrant affidavits were not available on the other cases.
A history of mental detentions
Though he has no convictions in Tarrant County, Garner has had several run-ins with Fort Worth police through the years, the affidavit indicates.
In November 2011, he jumped out of a moving car and ran away after becoming upset that his mother would not let him use her cellphone. The mother told police her son has mental issues and was in the care of Child Protective Services.
In May 2013, he was detained on a mental application after officers responded to a report that he was off his medication, being violent and threatening to hurt himself.
Garner allegedly told responding officers that he was going to kill the president and blow up the police station with a pipe bomb. He told officers if they thought Boston was bad, evidently referring to the Boston Marathon bombing, “just watch what he will do,” the affidavit states.
“His mother said he was threatening to harm himself and shoot police officers. The suspect made several threats to shoot and kill myself and other officers before being transported to JPS Hospital,” one officer noted, according to the affidavit.
In November 2014, Garner was detained on a mental application again after allegedly threatening to kill his mother’s fiance. When picked up by police, he asked officers to kill him and stated that he just wanted to die, the affidavit states.
On Feb. 21, police confiscated a handgun from Garner’s car after responding to a report of shots fried.
Seven days later, on Feb. 28, Garner was picked up on an emergency mental detention after trying to take his teen sister without permission.
Garner had to be subdued and placed in handcuffs during the call. On the way to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, he tried to hang himself with a seat belt of the patrol unit, the affidavit states.
Online dating safety tips
▪ Always trust your instinct.
▪ Don’t take everything at face value — it’s easy to lie online.
▪ Meet in a public place.
▪ Tell a friend where you are going and with whom you are meeting.
▪ Do not accept a ride or reveal your home address.
▪ Have an exit plan and do not let yourself be talked into changing your plan.
Fort Worth Police Department