Suspected serial rapist charged in two more sexual assaults

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - On Friday, Harrison County investigators prepared to search a Chevrolet SUV that belonged to 37-year-old Vincent Gerald Goff. They hope the vehicle holds more clues that could connect Goff to several sexual assaults.

"We do feel that this guy possibly is a serial rapist, and I'm glad that we're finally able to catch him," Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said.

This isn't Goff's first encounter with the law, The sheriff told WLOX News that Goff was arrested on May 14th, and charged with three counts of indecent exposure and theft of a purse.

"Same type MO: Ski mask, rifle.  That's when we were able to put the name to the guy who we're hunting.  We just needed to get the evidence that we had to have to be able to make the arrest," Brisolara said.

Investigators have been conducting surveillance and gathering evidence against Goff for about three years now, hoping to link him to at least three other rapes in Harrison County.  They say they've always been one step behind.  What allegedly happened in the woods Thursday afternoon was just the break they were looking for.

According to the sheriff, a man and a woman were leaving the woods off South Carr Bridge Road. They were in separate vehicles.  That's when Goff, wearing a ski mask, allegedly jumped in front of the woman's car and pointed a rifle at her.

"The male in another vehicle behind hers approached him and said, 'What's going on? We're leaving here.' And that's when he took him at gunpoint also," said Brisolara. "Then he took them both into the wooded area and that's where the sexual assaults took place."

Brisolara said the male victim managed to wrestle the rifle away from Goff and started beating Goff in the head, face, and stomach.  The sheriff said Goff was able to get back into his car and drive away, but a deputy spotted the vehicle and arrested him.

"This case broke it," said Brisolara.  "And I really admire the victim for having the courage to get the weapon and take the action he needed to do to free himself and the female. I think it's very heroic. And I'm glad he did it, because we were able to get this individual off the street."

The sheriff says DNA results that came in Friday afternoon link Goff to two other sexual assaults that occurred in 2006. Here's a breakdown of the charges in all three cases:

  • Six counts of kidnapping
  • Five counts of sexual assault
  • Two counts of aggravated assault
  • One count of molestation

That's on top of the indecent exposure and petty larceny charges he faces for an arrest in May.

D'Iberville Police are also interested in talking to Goff. They say Goff is a suspect in the attempted sexual assault of a woman in June.  It occurred at a popular sandbar near Riverside Drive, known as "The Cliff."  Police say the suspect in that case also wore a mask and carried a gun.

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