South Carolina

Suspected serial rapist accused of 13 attacks is now behind bars, SC police say

Police arrested Gregory Frye in connection with more than a dozen attacks in Spartanburg County.
Police arrested Gregory Frye in connection with more than a dozen attacks in Spartanburg County. Spartanburg County Detention Center

In a span of eight years, 12 women were attacked in Upstate South Carolina. Now, police and sheriff’s deputies in Spartanburghave arrested a man they say is a serial rapist.

There were similarities in the attacks that happened between 1995 and 2003, leading investigators to suspect one person was responsible for the series of rapes and attempted rapes, Spartanburg Police Chief Alonzo Thompson said Wednesday during a press conference broadcast on Facebook by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

The Spartanburg Sheriff’s Office arrested Gregory Howard Frye, 52, on Tuesday in connection with the crimes, Thompson and Sheriff Chuck Wright announced. Frye has so far only been charged in one of the attacks, they said, but more charges are coming.

The first charges are from a sexual assault in 1999 at an apartment complex outside Spartanburg city limits, the Herald-Journal reports.

”A woman told investigators in the early morning of March 2, 1999, she found a man standing over her bed, according to an incident report. She said the man threatened her, attacked her and sexually assaulted her,” according to the newspaper.

Thompson said his department and the sheriff’s office started six months ago to take an “aggressive new look at the cases, with a specific emphasis on the forensics evidence.”

“The suspect never established a pattern,” he said, with the attacks separated by 16 months to more than three years. The victims were from 14 years old to 51, Thompson said. One victim was attacked twice, for a total of 13 incidents, he said. They all lived in apartments, with two in the city and the rest in Spartanburg County, Thompson said.

The sheriff said there could be more victims than the 12 they already know about.

Thompson said his office sent new evidence to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and heard back about a match last week.

“Police say they reinterviewed victims and identified family members of potential suspects and collected new DNA samples, sending them to SLED who last week contacted officers saying they had a DNA match. Police say the DNA profile SLED contacted them with matched 6 of the criminal sexual conduct cases,” Fox Carolina reports.

“This is one of those cases (where) technology caught up with us,” Wright said, according to WYFF.

“I can’t imagine how some of the victims must have felt knowing that it took this long,” he said, the TV station reports. “And it wasn’t from a lack of effort on law enforcement’s part.”

A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.

Orange County investigator Tim Horne explains advances in forensic technology. Investigators had hoped a new device, called the M-Vac, would help solve a nearly 50-year-old cold case

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.