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'East Coast Rapist' Attempts Jailhouse Suicide

Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision (file)(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- The suspected "East Coast Rapist" is back in jail Sunday after police in New Haven, Conn., say he attempted to hang himself in his cell Saturday.

Thirty-nine-year-old Aaron Thomas survived the attempted suicide and was returned to his cell after a brief stay at the hospital.

Thomas, who is set to appear in New Haven Superior Court on Monday, is the man suspected in the attacks of at least 17 women over 12 years. The sexual assaults occurred from Virginia to Rhode Island starting in 1997.

DNA evidence led to the arrest of Thomas on Friday by New Haven police for first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. DNA collected by the state police forensic lab subsequently confirmed that Thomas was responsible for the string of rapes perpetuated by the so called "East Coast Rapist."

Thomas is currently being held on $1 million bond.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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