UTA student kidnapped and raped: ‘She did what she had to do’
A University of Texas at Arlington student arriving home after a night out with friends was confronted by a man with a handgun as she got out of her car and, when she said she had no money, was abducted and raped over a period of two hours, Arlington police say.
The woman told police she arrived at her residence at the Midtown Apartments at 1121 UTA Blvd. between 2:30 and 3 a.m. Wednesday.
She said when she told the gunman she didn't have any cash, he forced her to drive to a nearby bank, where she withdrew as much as the bank would allow, Arlington police Lt. Chris Cook said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
The woman was then forced to drive to an apartment complex, where the gunman sexually assaulted her, Cook said. It wasn't clear exactly where the assault took place or for how long.
Afterward, the gunman took the wheel and drove to a convenience store where he warned the woman to stay in the car while he went in and bought $30 worth of miscellaneous items with the woman's debit card, Cook said.
The man then drove to another apartment complex in east Arlington where he threatened the woman not to call 911, stole her cellphone and then left on foot.
From there, the woman drove to her apartment complex and contacted police. It was after 4:30 a.m.
“She did what she felt like she had to do, which was cooperate," Cook said, "and that’s typically what we ask of our citizenry when you’re facing these types of situations.
“You can imagine how scary this ordeal was for her,” he said.
He said that the woman gave a description of her assailant — a black man about 20 years old with a thin build — and that police have active leads and soon would have surveillance video footage from the bank and the convenience store.
“We’re confident that we’re going to get some good evidence at that location,” Cook said of the convenience store.
Meanwhile, the victim has been released from the hospital and is currently with her family and friends, he said.
“She went to a hospital as any victim would of this type of offense and she’s been cooperating with our investigative team,” he said. Earlier, she retraced her drive with police.
UT Arlington police sent a campus-wide email to UTA students alerting them to the attack afterward. They encouraged students to stay in groups and always be aware of their surroundings. Students who take evening classes are advised to walk in groups or call UTA police for a security escort.
Reports of rape at UTA, where more than 10,000 students live on or near campus, have been relatively low in recent years. But four rapes were reported on campus in 2016, according to the U.S. Education Department's Campus Safety and Security website that tracks college crime reports. One rape was reported in 2015 and three were reported in 2014, according to the website.
Anyone with information about the latest attack should call Arlington police or UTA police at 817-272-3381.