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Suspect arrested in LSU abduction, rape case
Published:Friday, March 17th 2017, 12:25 pm CDT
Updated:Friday, March 17th 2017, 10:34 pm CDT
By Rachael Thomas, Digital Content Producer
By Scottie Hunter, Reporter
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
One man has been arrested in the case of an alleged abduction and rape on the LSU campus.
Around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 17, the LSU Police Department arrested Frank Herrera Jr., 20, of Baton Rouge at his girlfriend's home.
Lt. Kevin Scott with LSU PD said in a press conference Friday night the victim parked her vehicle behind the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house on the LSU campus on Wednesday, March 15 when she was forced into her vehicle by an armed man. The victim reported a man wearing all black with a red bandanna over his face grabbed her and forced her into her vehicle.
Scott went on to say the two drove off campus, where the victim was reportedly forced to perform a sexual act while Herrera held the gun against her. The victim was then dropped off at a convenience store in the 1700 block of Government St. Herrera reportedly told the victim to go inside to buy condoms. She then called police once inside the store.
LSU PD detectives processed the victim's vehicle, during which clothing and additional evidence was found, leading detectives to identify Herrera as a suspect. Officials then obtained a search warrant for the home where Herrera was staying and for his vehicle. During the search, detectives found an iPhone case in Herrera's bedroom that matched the victim's case. They also located a small safe in Herrera's bedroom closet that contained a small, black 9mm semi-automatic pistol wrapped in a red bandanna, both of which matched the victim's description of the items.
Detectives were also able to locate the victim's iPhone at a business near Herrera's home. The owner of the store verified that Herrera brought the phone to the store on Thursday, March 16.
Officials say DNA evidence collected from the vehicle matched Herrera's DNA profile. Herrera was questioned by LSU PD detectives and reportedly confessed to kidnapping the victim and forcing her to perform oral sex.
Herrera is charged with second degree kidnapping, second degree rape, armed robbery, possession of schedule I narcotics, and possession of a firearm on school property. When taken into custody, Herrera was found to have a small amount of marijuana on his person.
LSU PD said they believe this was an isolated incident and a crime of opportunity and that the victim and Herrera did not know one another. They went on to say their patrols on campus are sustained and are ongoing 24 hours a day.
The clerk at the store where the victim was dropped off, Alhassan Murgan, assisted her, giving her his cell phone so she could call police and her mother. Officials reportedly arrived about 25 minutes after the victim called 911.
Surveillance video from the store of the clearly shaken woman captured the hair-raising moments shortly after she shuffled into the One Stop convenience store on Government St. after the alleged attack.
The video showed her being ushered in by some Good Samaritans who tried to help. "We're trying to make sure she's good, like we're trying to make sure she's good," Murgan said.
Murgan was on the register that night and said the look in her eyes as she stumbled into the business sent off a red flag that something was horribly wrong. He said the story she told him that night sent chills down his spine.
"She said, ‘The guy in the car, he raped me and he said if I tell anybody he's going to burn my car and kill me,'" he added.
Murgan said he immediately called police, then handed the phone over for the young woman to call her mother, all while giving her a place to hide behind the register.
"She was crying and shaking you know," Murgan said.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the clerk what was going through his mind at the time of the ordeal. "[I thought] like why he do this you know? Like you don't have a heart, you don't have any feelings. It's just sad man," Murgan added.
The suspect took off before police arrived, but while investigators are still trying to piece together the complete details of the case, Murgan said he will never forget that night and has an important message as to why he chose to help a stranger in need.
"Anybody that have a problem, we help you know,” Murgan said. “It's all about peace and love."
LSU President F. King Alexander spoke out following the update from LSU PD Friday night.
"We received some comments about the minimal amount of detail we released during the investigative process, and I would like to assure you that there was reasoning behind that – there was a preponderance of evidence pointing to the suspect and law enforcement was very close to making an arrest. We could not afford this predator any opportunity to flee or avoid being apprehended because we released too much information," said Alexander.
Read the full letter below:
“LSU Police, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, have apprehended the suspect in the abduction that occurred on the evening of March 15. We are very pleased that the alleged perpetrator has been taken off of the streets and will be held accountable for his actions. Our thoughts continue to be with the survivor and her family during this time.
I am president of LSU, but I am also a father to three young women. I understand the turmoil this event has caused for our students and their families. And I hear your concerns. Please know that the safety and security of every single LSU student is always our top priority, and necessary for providing the best educational environment possible. We received some comments about the minimal amount of detail we released during the investigative process, and I would like to assure you that there was reasoning behind that – there was a preponderance of evidence pointing to the suspect and law enforcement was very close to making an arrest. We could not afford this predator any opportunity to flee or avoid being apprehended because we released too much information.
We are thankful to the LSU Police for acting quickly and conducting a swift, thorough investigation leading to today’s arrest. We also would like to thank the campus community for their support and assistance throughout the investigative process. Officers from LSU Police work day and night in an effort to keep our students safe, and we continuously update and enhance our security measures. We are always looking for ways to make our campus an even safer environment for our University community. If you have additional suggestions, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that the last several days have been stressful for many on our campus, and I want to encourage you to consider taking advantage of the resources LSU offers to assist you in times of need. The LSU CARE Team is available to help students in distress, and the Student Health Center has licensed counselors ready and waiting for you.
We will not tolerate any crime on our campus.
RELATED: LSU Police investigating reported abduction, rape near Kappa Kappa Gamma house
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