Barbour Co. Authorities in Search of Kidnap and Alleged Rape Suspect

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

Authorities in Barbour County say a 28-year-old victim stopped for gas Friday evening, and that's where she was kidnapped and allegedly raped.

It’s a normal day for Jennifer Utley, manager at U.S.A. Gas Station in Barbour County, which is why the news about Friday’s incident was a shock.

"Nothing like this happens here, nothing,” Utley said. “It's pretty usually, pretty quiet; we've had things in the past, but nothing that major."

Authorities in Barbour County say around 7PM Friday night, the victim was visiting the area and stopped for gas.

"After she pumped her gas, apparently she had turned her back on her car for a few minutes; when she got back into the car, started to leave, the suspect appeared from the backseat, stuck a screwdriver to her, and threatened to kill her," Utley continued.

Officials say the suspect then told the victim to drive to an isolated area and allegedly raped her.

He then told her to drive him to Headland where the victim says the suspect jumped out of the car.

Chief Deputy Eddie Ingram, with the Barbour Co. Sheriff's Office said, "The 28-year-old victim has given us a name of the suspect, [who] she thinks it is and right now, the investigation is under way."

Ingram says incidents like Fridays are a good reminder for all to be aware of their surroundings. "We want to urge all people, not just young females, older females, but families in general to be careful because everybody knows that it’s tourist time, it’s spring break time, a lot of traffic coming through here, all the crooks know that a lot of these people, especially those from out of town will not be able to identify them," he concluded.

That’s advice Utley and many others will now be taking.

A few other tips to keep you safe: keep your doors locked at all times, even if you just go into the store for a moment, and also try to fill up in the day if possible.

Authorities have a lead and hope to have the suspect in custody within the next few days.

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