City offers $5,000 reward, university responds to student assault (with video)

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Police continue to search for a Troy University student’s assailant and the City of Troy is now offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

The student was off-campus at Hunters Mountain Mobile Estates when she became the victim of a burglary and sexual assault. Police received a call about the incident at 11:12 p.m. Monday, but later found the attack happened earlier in the day about 3:30 p.m. Officials won’t elaborate on the time gap between the attack and the call placed to police.

“Based on the information we have, she is doing okay and, as far as we know, she will be released [from the hospital] and go home today,” Herbert Reeves, the university’s dean of student affairs said Wednesday morning.

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Troy police haven’t released many details about the crime, citing a pending investigation, but Chief Jimmy Ennis said every detective at the department is working “aggressively” on the case.

“We have canvassed that neighborhood,” Ennis said. “There are over 300 units at Hunters Mountain mobile home park and we have knocked on each and every door and talked to each and every person who came to their door about this incident and what they may have seen or what they may have heard.”

Police released a description of the assailant Tuesday evening. The suspect is a black male between 40 and 50 years old, is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 250 pounds. He has a low haircut and was wearing a black or dark blue shirt and loose-fitting black or blue jeans.

Questions around campus and in Troy circulated as people wondered whether or not this case could be linked to a January 2010 abduction and off-campus assault of another university student.

“We have no reason to believe the two are connected,” Ennis said.

Reeves echoed that feeling.

“Based on all the information we have now, there is no correlation between the two,” Reeves said.

Reeves sent out a campus-wide safety alert Tuesday evening after discussing the case with police. He said since the suspect was still on the lam, he wanted everyone to be vigilant and keep their doors locked.

“We hate this happened and we are going to do what we can do to support the young lady and support this investigation,” Reeves said, noting that counseling through the school’s Sexual Assault and Violence Education program had been offered to the student by way of her mother.

Ennis said that the community should be on the lookout for the suspect, and if anyone at Hunters Mountain Monday afternoon may have seen or heard anything out of the ordinary, he should call the Troy Police Department at 566-0500, or the Secret Witness Line at 566-5555.

“We have officers on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Ennis said. “We would much rather a person call and it turn out to be nothing than them not to call.”

And that statement stands at any time, not just during this investigation.

“Don’t hesitate to call the police department,” Ennis said. “That’s what we are here for. It’s our job to come out and address their concerns. We very much want to do that.”

In addition to the city’s pledge, Ennis made requests that the university and the governor’s office match the $5,000 amount.