Federal law enforcement officials are working to broaden the search for a fugitive former Schenectady resident accused of raping two women locally, officials said Thursday.
They're also hoping that videos posted by the suspect years ago and only recently discovered will help in tracking him down.
Michael Hawkins, 30, is accused of raping a mentally challenged woman at her apartment June 10, 2012. She reported the assault the next day and authorities filed charges, but police couldn't locate him. He surfaced again more than a year later, at the home of a friend. There, he raped another woman, authorities allege.
Authorities announced a $5,000 reward last year for information leading directly to his arrest. The announcement drew about 100 tips nationwide, but none that led to Hawkins, officials said.
The newly discovered videos are under the name "Mthug007." They generally show Hawkins playing his own guitar versions of metal band music, including the bands Metallica and Godsmack. Several feature his renditions of tracks by a band called Lamb of God. The most recent videos are from late-2012 -- after the first attack and before the second.
The videos, though old, have already helped investigators pin down some identifying information on Hawkins. Investigators learned early in the investigation of a Grim Reaper tattoo generally on his chest. One video offers a brief glimpse of the tattoo's actual location -- on his right side, near the bottom of his rib cage, Deputy U.S. Marshal Anthony Loguidice said.
They also offer a look at Hawkins himself, Loguidice said.
"Now you can see how he acts, how he talks," Loguidice said. "It's a huge tool for us."
Investigators have long since expanded the search to states along the East Coast. Hawkins previously worked with traveling carnival companies based in New Jersey and North Carolina and could be working with similar companies in Ohio, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and states along the East Coast, authorities have said.
Investigators are sending out this week's announcement nationwide, Loguidice said. They've also gotten some interest from a national fugitive show, but no firm commitment.
Hawkins is described as 5 foot, 9 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He has a inch-and-a-half-long scar on his face, a burn mark scar on his right arm and the tattoo. He is also known to have a temper and abuse alcohol, authorities said.
Friends also dubbed Hawkins "Zombie Mike" for poor hygiene. He's also been described as someone who can hide anywhere, including in wooded areas, and survive off scraps, Marshals said.
Schenectady and Rotterdam police investigated the local cases and are working with the U.S. Marshals Service to find Hawkins.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the U.S. Marshals Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102 or email [email protected].