By R.J. Heckelman
It’s been almost three weeks since a student was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint, forced to drive to another location, and sexually assaulted. So far there have been no new leads or arrests in the case. The incident, which occurred at 8:15 Thursday night, January 23rd in the gravel parking lot, behind the portable village, remains a mystery.
A man reportedly was waiting for the student in the back seat of his car. After the student entered the vehicle, the assailant informed him that he had a gun, and forced him to drive to a remote location in Tam Valley.
Although details are limited, the suspect is described as a six-foot-tall black male, weighing around 230 pounds, said Lieutenant Jamie Scardina of the Marin Sheriff’s Department. Wearing a ski mask, gloves, and a sweater, the suspect is roughly 20 to 30 years old.
“We have detectives working on the case now,” said Scardina. “As of [January 25], we have no further information.” After a few weeks, there are still no suspects in the case. Details on where the crime took place are still sketchy.
“It’s a gravel parking lot that’s used by the community for ride-share and so forth. It’s a free lot that we use for students as well,” said COM Vice President Greg Nelson. The parking lot has no lights, so at night visibility is very low. After this incident, temporary lights were installed and the lot now closes at 5 p.m.
A public forum was held for students and faculty at Indian Valley Campus on February 4th. Moderated by Nelson, audience members were allowed to ask questions about security concerns on both college campuses. Nelson emphasized being aware of your surroundings, and to always walk with a friend.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation of the assault, but at the moment the suspect is still at large. Anyone with any information regarding the kidnapping should contact either the Marin County Sheriff’s Office at (415) 479-2311, or Marin Community College Police at (415) 485-9696.
On January 24, students were informed of the incident via text alert, email, and other social mediums. The school has also posted an alert on its website Marin.edu.
Police officers recommend that students should travel in groups at all times, and at the first sign of any suspicious activity call 911, whether on or off campus. College police escorts can also be provided for students by calling the College of Marin Police Department at (415) 485-9696.