Neighbors react after TBI Most Wanted rape suspect reportedly kills himself

Crime Tracker
David Whelan (Source: TBI)

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A former Rutherford County lawyer on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List is dead.

According to the TBI, 49-year-old David Whelan shot himself Thursday at a Mobile, Alabama marina as law enforcement approached him. What Whelan was doing there is unknown.

Whelan was previously arrested, accused of multiple sex crimes against multiple women, including the rape of a teenager. According to neighbors on Whelan’s Murfreesboro street, Whelan was odd and did things that made some residents suspicious.

Ann Davis has lived in the neighborhood much of her life. She didn’t know Whelan, but she described the man who lived across the street.

“It’s unbelievable. Nothing like that has ever happened in this neighborhood. I couldn’t believe it when I first found out,” said Davis.

The saga of Whelan first began in March when he was charged with aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping of a young teen who was babysitting his daughter.

Davis’ son was home at the time of the arrest and Davis said the street was loaded with cop cars.

“He said there was like 9 to 10 cars up and down the street,” said Davis.

Davis said the thought of a young girl being raped across the street is unthinkable.

“I could not believe it. But I kind of thought something was going on. There were always different cars over there every day, with different girls. And with him being a lawyer, I didn’t know,” said Davis.

Three months later on June 17, the TBI announced more sexual predatory charges against the Murfreesboro lawyer who had an office on the downtown square.

According to the TBI, Whelan forced or coerced female clients to have sex with him instead of taking money for attorney services. A Rutherford County Grand Jury indicted him on four counts of rape by fraud, four counts of rape by coercion, and one count of promoting prostitution.

Davis said it was always females, coming and going.

“It was every day. Sometimes three and four times a day,” said Davis.

Then in early September, when Whelan failed to show up for court on the charges of raping his babysitter, the TBI put him on the Most Wanted List. The agency offered a reward and showed a picture of a bearded Whelan with his dog.

Then Thursday, the TBI announced the sexual predator had killed himself.

Davis said she knew it was coming.

“But hearing this morning he killed himself, he knew what was bound to happen. So I guess he took himself out,” said Davis.

Whelan’s law license was suspended in September.

The TBI said if anyone was a victim of David Whelan, they are still urged to come forward and call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at (615) 744-4000.

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