New charges against ride-hailing driver accused of kidnapping women

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man connected to three incidents in June, in which women were kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man who police say was posing as their ride-hailing driver, faces new charges for a newly uncovered 2017 case.

The Austin Police Department’s crime analysts determined at an unspecified date in 2017 that 45-year-old Daniel Kifle picked up a victim and her friend at West Sixth and West Avenue and then took off with her once the male passenger got out. He then called 911.

The victim, who is in her early 20s, no longer lives in Austin, police said. She told police she woke up in Kifle’s vehicle and he kicked her out of the car in the 2400 block of Guadalupe Street.

Police said the victim does not remember what happened to her in the vehicle. 

DNA testing to determine if there was a sexual assault is underway, APD said. 

The 2017 case came to APD’s attention when they thought there were no new leads, reopening the investigation. The department reached out to and re-interviewed the victim in the 2017 case, and she identified Kifle in a lineup, according to APD.

Kifle is currently facing two kidnapping charges, three attempted sexual assault charges, an aggravated kidnapping charge and a robbery charge, with a combined bond of $800,000. He remains in the Travis County Jail as of Tuesday evening. 

While Kifle previously worked for Lyft, Uber and Yellow Cab, police say he was not actively using a rideshare app during the incidents. 

APD said there are a few open investigations to determine if there are additional victims connected to these cases. Anyone with information on Kifle is asked to call the Sex Crimes Unit at 512-974-5230.

The police department reminded rideshare passengers to make sure the vehicle they’re entering matches the vehicle on the app.

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