Los Angeles man arrested for allegedly raping 13 women, luring them on Instagram

A Los Angeles man was arrested recently in connection with 13 rapes across Los Angeles County — including several involving children — in which he allegedly lured his victims on social media, authorities announced Tuesday.

Michael Watson Jr., 21, is facing sixteen felony counts including aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted extortion and grand theft for a dozen of incidents dating back to at least 2021.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies responded to reports of a rape in the city of Walnut back on Feb. 2, 2021. According to authorities, Watson was invited to the home of two women after he met them on Instagram. Once there he's accused of raping one of the women and taking their cell phones before driving away. After that night, he allegedly contacted one of the victims through social media, threatening to post nude images of her online if she didn't send him money, according to LASD. 

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During their investigation, detectives discovered DNA evidence linking the same suspect to 12 separate incidents across LA, Hollywood, East LA and Inglewood. In each case, the suspect met his victims on Instagram before luring them to places where he raped them. All told, investigators identified 13 victims including four minors. That's when detectives identified Watson as a suspect.

Watson was arrested earlier this month on Nov. 8, and arraigned on charges on Nov. 10. He remains in custody with bail set at $1.79 million.

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Detectives believe there may be additional unidentified victims. Anyone with information was asked to reach out to LASD's Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273 or by email at specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org. Those wanting to remain anonymous can reach out to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or lacrimestoppers.org.

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