Rape investigation continues; suspicious incident reported
by Kellen Moore
Police are continuing to investigate a rape reported last month on West King Street and are urging continued vigilance following what they deemed a "suspicious incident" Friday.
On Feb. 24, a woman walking alone around 3:30 a.m. in the 300 block of West King Street reported being raped by a short, stocky Hispanic man.
The victim told police that a vehicle occupied by two Hispanic men stopped beside her, asked if she was OK and drove on. Shortly after, she said she was grabbed from behind, forced behind a building and raped, according to police.
Capt. Andy Le Beau of the Boone Police Department said their efforts have not turned up much new information, and the young woman does not want to be involved in the investigation.
"She doesn't want to talk about it, so we really don't have anything to work with on that end," he said.
Now, police have received information about another, noncriminal incident that may be connected.
At 12:54 a.m. Friday, a woman reported that a Hispanic man attempted to start a conversation in Spanish in the 200 block of West King Street. The complainant returned to her apartment and called police, saying that she heard his footsteps behind her.
The caller described the man as approximately 5 foot, 4 inches tall, heavy-set and in his 30s. He was wearing a red plaid jacket and dark pants.
"At this time, it does not appear that a crime was committed," said Detective Kat Brackenridge of the Boone Police Department. "However, we wanted to make the members of our community aware of this situation after what occurred a few weeks ago. We cannot say that one incident is related to the other, but we do want people to be alert."
Police urge residents to practice these and other steps to stay safe:
-- Always try to walk with a friend, especially during the hours of darkness.
-- Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
-- Try to avoid isolated or poorly lighted areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
-- Walk with purpose. Even if you don't know where you are going, act like you do.
-- Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn't the best place to be.
-- Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags, as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
-- Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged.
-- Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.