DPS investigates kidnapping, sexual assault

Sara Drewry

A female ISU student said she was kidnapped in broad daylight and sexually assaulted by four males, Department of Public Safety officials said.

Jerry Stewart, interim director of DPS, said officers responded Tuesday to a call at 2 p.m. from a woman whose name is not being released.

The woman reported she was abducted from campus and taken to a wooded area where she was sexually assaulted.

He said the woman told officers she was waiting at a bus stop in front of Gilman Hall around 11 a.m. when a man approached her with a hand gun and demanded she go with him.

Stewart said the woman was then forced into a car in the parking lot north of the Office and Laboratory Building, where three other men were waiting.

Stewart said the woman reported the men took her to a wooded area, where they sexually assaulted her and released her.

Sgt. Mike Johns of the Ames Police Department said the victim went to the Student Health Center for examination after the incident. The Sexual Assault Response Team was alerted to the incident.

“The Sexual Assault Response Team has two nurses trained to examine for this type of thing,” Johns said.

When the department received the call, Stewart said officers immediately dispatched other agencies. He said DPS contacted the Department of Criminal Investigation and the Ames Police Department.

Agents and officers from the agencies continue to conduct interviews with potential witnesses. Stewart said they also are checking into further evidence.

“We are definitely pursuing this,” he said. “The investigation is continuing.”

Johns said the Ames Police Department is tracking the investigation. He said DPS is keeping them updated on the progress of the investigation.

“We will provide additional investigators when needed,” Johns said. “They will contact me if they need the assistance of our department.”

Johns said he was at a meeting Wednesday morning with DPS regarding the incident. However, DPS has not used the assistance of the police department at this point.

Stewart said he is not releasing any names of suspects now.

“We don’t have the suspects in custody,” he said. “The investigation of the suspects is still continuing.”

Stewart said she described the four assailants all as black males, one over 6 feet tall, the others about 6 feet tall. The men were driving a four-door black car that may have been a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord.

Gene Deisinger, special operations unit with the DPS, said the male who confronted the victim was not a total stranger.

“She doesn’t know him personally, but she has had other run-ins with him,” he said. “He matches the description of an individual that has confronted her recently.”

Stewart said the department also alerted law agencies in the area to be on the look out.

“The department called central Iowa law agencies to be aware of any cars matching the description, as well as any suspects matching the descriptions,” he said.

Deisinger said there are usually are quite a few people around the area of Gilman Hall at 11 a.m Tuesday. He said the victim “did indicate that many witnesses were around” at the time the first assailant approached her.

He said officers were in the area at 11 a.m. Wednesday and there were a lot of people around. He said they will be in the area again Thursday at 11 a.m.

“Thursday at 11 [a.m.] will be a better match with the Tuesday and Thursday schedule,” Deisinger said.

Stewart said law officials prepared and distributed crime alert flyers on campus Tuesday night.

The department also worked late, he said, gathering information that they were able to release on Wednesday at 2 a.m.

Officials also prepared and distributed safety tips to a variety of organizations on campus and posted the tips on the DPS Web site.

Deisinger said kidnappings are not something the department has to work with very often.

“Kidnapping is rare, while the sexual assaults are not quite as rare,” he said.

Deisinger said cases like this tend to stick with victims for the rest of their lives.

“I don’t want to speak for this victim, but in general, the forcible kidnapping of a victim is hugely traumatic for most,” he said.

Deisinger said if arrests are made, the men will face charges of kidnapping with sexual assault, which is a Class A felony. If the suspects are found guilty, they could face life in prison.

Stewart said DPS is asking for help in solving this case.

“We encourage anyone with any information about this to contact us at the DPS,” he said.

Call DPS at 294-4428.