Police seek man who entered home, attempted rape

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mountain Home Police are asking for the public's help, and issuing a warning to area residents, following an alleged home invasion and attempted forcible rape that occurred at about 5:50 a.m. Thursday morning.

The incident occurred at a home in the area of the Stone Tree and War Eagle subdivisions, off N. 3rd East St., in northwest Mountain Home.

Police Chief Tom Berry said the victim normally kept her doors locked, but had just opened the door to let her dog out when the man grabbed her and forced her back into the house.

The victim was able to fight off her attacker, who fled on foot in an unknown direction.

The suspect was described as a caucasian male in his mid to late 20s, approximately 5'10", of medium build, with short brown hair and dark eyes.

The Mountain Home Police Department is asking for assistance in the case.

If anyone was in the area of N. 3rd East St. and the Stone Tree and War Eagle Subdivisions and saw anything suspicious, or saw someone fitting the description of the suspect, contact Det. Lt. Julee Bunderson at the Mountain Home Police Department at 587-9637 ext. 202, after 5 p.m., or weekends, or call 587-2100 and have a dispatcher contact the on call detective.

Berry said the victim did the right thing by fighting her attacker. "Sometimes you should fight, sometimes submit. I tell people that you do whatever you have to do to survive. It's all about survival."

Berry said that after interviewing a number of "persons of interest" in the community who had criminal histories involving sex crimes, "we really don't have a suspect right now. We're still pursuing a number of leads, but we're asking than anyone who has seen anything unusual that they report it. Call if you see anything suspicious" anywhere in town, not just in the area of the attack, he said.

Berry said that while his department working with other law enforcement agencies in the region to identify possible similarities with other crimes, he believes the attacker probably lives in the community. "He's still out there. This was not a random act. We believe the victim was probably targeted by someone who knew the neighborhood."

And Berry said he is worried that rapists tend not to stop until they are caught.

"We are very concerned about this," Berry said, noting a number of investigators and detectives have been assigned to the case. "This is a very violent crime. We're putting all our resources into this."

County Prosecutor Kristina Schindele added that "we don't have very many of these (in this area), but this is scary."

The victim has a support group of friends and family that have been staying with her since the attack.

Berry noted that while the victim suffered no major injuries, "her sense of trust and security has been badly shaken."

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