Special Reports

How many cases will Adhahn’s arrest solve?

The circle of dread and suspicion surrounding Terapon Dang Adhahn – the almost certain killer of Zina Linnik – has spread wide indeed.

As of Thursday, police in Arlington, Texas, were investigating the possibility – perhaps a long shot – that the 42-year-old Adhahn was the monster who abducted and murdered 9-year-old Amber Hagerman there in 1996.

It’s an example of the interest his arrest has aroused in many law-enforcement agencies. Amber was the very girl whose disappearance later led to the creation of the Amber Alert system here and in other states. Adhahn may have been visiting relatives near her home when she disappeared.

He appears to have been a very busy man over the years. He was convicted of incestuous rape in 1990 and now stands charged with 12 crimes – 10 counts of rape, one count of kidnapping and one count of failing to register as a sex offender. Seven of those rape charges are based on allegations by a 19-year-old who says he sexually assaulted her at least 150 times over a period of several years.

Zina’s body was recovered, police say, because Adhahn, through his lawyer, told investigators exactly where to find it.

DNA evidence has also linked Adhahn to the prolonged and brutal rape of an 11-year-old Tacoma girl in 2000. He’s officially under investigation for a total of 59 crimes, and police are looking seriously into the possibility that he may have killed Adre’anna Jackson, who was abducted and near her Tillicum home in 2005.

If Adhahn is guilty of only some of these crimes – and the evidence against him is powerful – he will go down as one of the worst serial murderers and rapists this state has seen. He would be every parent’s nightmare: a vampire who prowls the streets looking for children to prey on.

Grim as the crimes are, Adhahn’s arrest may be good news for the South Sound.

It means an exceptionally hideous criminal is likely off the streets for good. If he’s been as prolific a rapist and killer as suspected, an immense threat to children has been eliminated.

Even those families whose children may have already been victimized by Adhahn may find some consolation in the fact that the crimes may soon be solved. Not knowing what really happened to a child adds an extra dimension of confusion and pain to a grief that is already crushing.

Adhahn has apparently done a lot of hanging out on the streets over the years. If he’s convicted for any of these crimes, he may soon be off the streets for good.