Local News

Three Sexual Assaults in Nine Days Reported Near Duke Campus

Posted September 3, 1998

— Three rapes were reported between August 10 and August 19 within a mile of each other, and all by a suspect matching the same description.

Durham investigators made the connection when the latest victim came forward with her story Thursday. She says the rape happened near Duke's east campus in the Walltown neighborhood.

On August 11 about 6 a.m., a woman says a man grabbed her off a street corner on West Markham Avenue, threw her down behind a wall and raped her.

"It happens all the time because people are careless, and not paying attention to what they're doing, and not looking around or walking in a lighted area," resident Antoinette Johnson said. "You have to be aware of crazy people out here because there's a lot of loonies."

However, police say they are most likely looking for one man. A composite was put together with the help of the latest victim. Some people say the police could have helped more by putting out more information on what could be a series of rapes.

"Yes, I would definitely argue that there hasn't been enough information," Duke student Erica Beckham said. "I'm sure a lot of students haven't heard about this. There hasn't been enough information out about it."

Durham police say releasing too much information would compromise their investigation.

"We're running undercover operations. We're interviewing people. We're picking people up," Durham police Cpl. Fran Borden said. "We're doing what we're supposed to do, let us do it."

The biggest question is whether the three rapes are connected. Durham police say they will work the latest case first, because they say it has the most information. They will try to make an arrest in that case. Then, they will try to link the other two attacks to that rape.


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