Oct 23, 2006
The Humboldt State University Police Department is moving quickly to investigate an alleged sexual assault that reportedly took place Monday evening at the LK Wood Blvd. underpass, said University Police Chief Tom Dewey.
A man reported that at approximately 8:30 p.m., Oct. 23, 2006, he was followed by an unknown male suspect from downtown Arcata onto the HSU campus. When they reached the pedestrian underpass at LK Wood Blvd., the suspect grasped and groped the man. The man was able to break away from the suspect and escaped further harm.
Dewey said investigators from the University Police Department and Arcata Police Department began collaborating on this case within the first hour after it was reported.
“This teamwork and perseverance will continue until we catch this guy,” he said. “Chief Mendosa and I personally met about the case first thing Tuesday morning, and we both agree that solving this crime is a top priority for both the city and the university.”
The suspect in this case has been described as an Hispanic male adult, who spoke broken English, is about 28 years old, 5’6” tall, with a slender build, dark brown or black hair that is short and spiky, and who wore a brown button-up shirt, blue jeans and casual work boots.
Although police say this crime could be classified as a stranger attack, the suspect did not suddenly jump out of the shadows to commit the crime. “This suspect wasn’t silently following the survivor in the moments before the crime,” Dewey explained. “Prior to the assault he was unusually outgoing, too friendly, and verbally inappropriate for a stranger. The suspect walked alongside the survivor for blocks prior to the assault, trying to engage him, almost like a stray puppy that won’t stop following you home.”
Dewey said this behavior sometimes indicates the suspect has acted out in an inappropriate or sexual way towards others in the past. “We are thoroughly considering the evidence and information from all our recent unsolved cases in both jurisdictions, and we have not eliminated the possibility that the pedestrian underpass suspect could be responsible for other crimes on either side of the freeway.”
Anyone with information, especially who might have been in the area at the time of the assault, is urged to come forward with any observations or information that might assist with the investigation.
“We are hoping that a local community member who has encountered this suspect before might recognize this image and strange behavior, and provide a lead as to who he might be and how the police can contact him” said Dewey.
Information may be provided by phoning UPD at 826-5555, or sent via email to HSUPD@humboldt.edu.
For more information on this case, also visit the University Police Department Web site.