Assault investigations ongoing

Police, deputies have identified suspects in 2 of 3 recent cases

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— Police and deputies have identified suspects in two of the three recent reports of sexual assault or attempted assaults in the Steamboat Springs area. Local law enforcement officials maintain that there is no reason to believe the incidents are related.

Steamboat Springs Police Department officers are investigating two reports of sexual assault that happened within a day of one another. One was a reported attempted assault in a River Road home, and the other was a reported rape at a downtown street corner.

Capt. Joel Rae said that on Oct. 20, a woman called police at 7:33 p.m. to report that a man had knocked on the door of her River Road home offering to sell tortillas.

The woman invited the man into the house and told officers that after she purchased the tortillas, the man approached her and shoved her to the ground.

The woman said she kicked the man in the groin, and he left the house. Officers said the woman didn’t suffer any injuries as a result of the incident.

The woman told officers she had seen tortilla sellers in the neighborhood before but that she did not know whether the man was associated with that group.

Police found the suspect described by the woman, a stocky Hispanic man in his early 30s, and questioned him and a witness in the days after the reported attack.

“He has been thoroughly interviewed, along with another witness, and at this point we will probably not be moving forward with any criminal charges due to conflicting information between the victim and the suspect, and possible declination to prosecute from the DA’s Office,” Rae said Thursday.

He said that the decision to not press charges was a mutual decision between the police department and the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Rae said the case was “going to be impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In the second case, a woman reported that she was raped at about 1 a.m. Oct. 21 at the corner of 11th and Oak streets. Police sent forensic evidence from that case to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis. Police said they don’t have any suspects, and the victim was unable to provide a description of her attacker.

Police Detective Capt. Bob DelValle said police could not reveal what evidence was sent to CBI. Police are considering the possibility that the Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 cases are related, but DelValle said detectives have found nothing that links the two.

“There is some consideration that there could be some connection between the two, but we don’t have any hard facts to confirm that, just the timing,” he said.

A third incident, involving a juvenile, was reported in mid-September to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman and evidence technician Mellisa Baumgartner said the suspect in the reported sexual assault is not a stranger to the victim. She said deputies are investigating the case but do not think it is related to the attacks reported to the police department.

Baumgartner said deputies have been in contact with the suspect. Because the case involves a juvenile and because deputies have not made any arrests, they declined to provide any additional information about the incident. The case was reported through the Routt County Department of Human Services, and it is unknown where in Routt County the reported assault took place.

According to police, those three incidents are the only reported cases of sexual assault in the past two months.

Stranger assaults rare

DelValle said it’s unusual for Steamboat Springs police to have two cases of sexual assaults by strangers.

“When you have a stranger situation, that’s not typical of what we experience,” he said. “Most of the situations we experience are non-stranger.”

A non-stranger case is when “somebody went home with somebody … and things didn’t go according to at least one of the person’s plans,” DelValle said.

Acknowledging the rumors, blog posts and text messages that are making their way through town, Rae said basic precautions are the best way to stay safe.

“We don’t have any reason to believe that women are in danger of a serial rapist at large in Steamboat. They are two isolated incidents,” he said. “We’re taking it seriously, and that’s not to discount what women should do to protect themselves.”

Rae said men and women should travel with friends when walking at night, be aware of their surroundings and be prepared to defend themselves in the event of an incident.

Comments

greenwash 4 years, 5 months ago

UNUSUAL.....YEA RIGHT..HOW ABOUT ALL THOSE GALS DRUGGED AT THE BARS A COUPLE YEARS AGO.SPEAK UP AND TELL THE TRUTH.THIS HAPPENS MORE THAN PEOPLE WANT TO ADMIT.

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aichempty 4 years, 5 months ago

The fact that they do not appear to be related is not comforting.

This is what we get when we tolerate petty crime, drug trafficking and paying people off the books. It makes it possible for people to be anonymous and attack random victims on the street.

People have to understand that most criminals don't do just "one bad thing." They tend to ignore all laws and conventions of society until they are caught doing ONE of them.

Does using recreational drugs enable rapists to live in our community? When people have no visible means of support, and commit crimes such as this, where do you think they get the money to live?

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1999 4 years, 5 months ago

Wow!!!! They used the word rape.

I still feel this article is Long over due. two weeks without a warning from the police or pilot?

the fact that the incidents are not related is even more concerning to me.

also. I agree with greenwash. there is far more crime in steamboat than what is reported in the record. those are just the cute ones.

still shame on the pilot and the SBSPD fro allowing this to go on for so long without confirmation.

we deserve to know what is going on in our community. I'm sure YOUR wives and daughters knew why didn't we?

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Amy Harris 4 years, 5 months ago

I appreciate the article about these assaults. Although there isn't a lot of available information, at least we do know some facts about what happened.

Women should also be vigilant when they are at bars- my good friend was roofied (drugged) at the Ghost Ranch a few weeks ago, and had I not been there to take care of her, I shudder to think what would have happened to her. There are evil people out there and we have to keep that in mind.

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1999 4 years, 5 months ago

sid, i hope he/she reported the drugging and the location to the police?

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seeuski 4 years, 5 months ago

So women of Steamboat, if you are attacked in your own home and the attacker gives conflicting info and he is an immigrant you can rest assured that the immigrant will be given the benefit of the doubt. Awesome. No need for a judge or jury.

This article may shed some light on the possibilities of the inaction in this case.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/56351

And to the person who said I need psychiatric help for an earlier post, I was aware of the info that the pilot is now reporting.

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beverly lemons 4 years, 5 months ago

Where are Benson and Stabler when you need them? Seriously, this should of been reported to the public right after the rape. Sounds like the police don't have a clue when it comes to serious crime, what a surprise.

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bandmama 4 years, 5 months ago

Women should always be aware and be prepared to fight back. Reguardless of how much or low little reporting goes on from the Pilot. Yes, I would have felt better had there been mroe info released to the public, but it is NOT the Pilots responsibility to keep "me" or anyone else safe. We do live in a smaller community, and at times we become a tad bit spoiled due to the considerable lack of crime (when compared to larger communities) it is no excuse not to be vigilant towards our own safety. Has anyone heard of a community self defence course, or something to help alleviate some of the worry these assults have brought about? Ladies, simple common sense can make you feel more confidant, carry your car keys like a weapon, largest key facing out between your middle and ring finger, carry a whistle, pepper spray or a $4 airhorn in your hand when walking. Two rolls of quarters wrapped in duct tape at the bottom of your purse can pack quite a punch when it lands upside a head. Dont let a stranger into your home when selling stuff door to door, Check your back seats when getting into your car, tell your friends when to expect you home, and most of all be aware of your surroundings. Dont rely on "reported" assaults to make you think of these things. Many times they are not reported........

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seeuski 4 years, 5 months ago

Great info bandmama, What you recommend could come in handy but the complaints those of us have made here are valid and the public does rely on the media for vital information in order to raise awareness in times of trouble. My contention is that in this case the media was handcuffed by the police dept which was handcuffed by the Federal Governments political policy to protect the identities of illegals. It was very telling that the recent domestic dispute downtown was immediately reported with suspect photos and all. One only needs to look at the recent friction between DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and Sheriff Arpiao in Phoenix for his application of the laws in dealing with illegals, he has been threatened to lay off or else. But again to whom it may concern this is speculation on my part and not a condemnation of our police, whom I always support, or our media.

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canyonwind 4 years, 5 months ago

Aichempty, you are so right about people being tolerant about "paying people off the books" This is wrong in so many ways, it invites identity theft because the person still needs some sort of ID rent a place to live, it steels a job from a local, property and sexual asults crimes of all kinds tends to go up because they just don't break one law. And yes the tight wad that hires these guys and the activist that defend this nonsense are as much to blame, and no it is not RACIST to point out that this behavior is wrong and as a person of Mexican desent I find the groups that defend this nonsense discusting. And WHY would anyone let some guy off the street in their house to sell them TORTILLAS???? Safeway has tortillas and other food. As for being out in the street get some pepper spray and get a few cans and use one to spray at a target to see how it aims. If you ever have to use it aim for the eyes and nose, the stuff burns and may blind them for a short time use that time to get away. Don't waste one second just move fast the freak could be armed.

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bandmama 4 years, 5 months ago

Hmmm.....I guess I missed the part that states that ones ethnic orgin automaticlly makes one illegal. seeuski, while I do see your point, lets take a look at what we sort of know of these three cases. 1) A juvenile pending case. We have no idea is this was molestation, a date gone wrong or a random attack, we do know that investigators have been in contact with the suspect, and they were known to the victim. 2) A woman alledgedly attacked at 1 in the morning on a street corner by an unknown suspect that we have no description for and we know that evidence was sent to the state crime lab for analysis. The term "rape" has officially been used in this instance. 3) A woman lets a strange man into her home while he is selling something door to door, she is pushed to the floor I assume there is a scuffle of some kind, she kicks him in groin and he leaves. Officers investigating the alledged attack find no injuries on the woman, a third witness as well as the suspect and the victim are interviewed investigators conclude due to conflicting statements, lack of physical evidence to get a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, no where is there mention of any drugs, or alcohol involved in any of the above incidents. The suspect(s) race should not be an issue....yet. The domestic dispute that made the paper so "quickly" is a completely different story. The suspect was immediately apprehended after a long stand off in the home. There is no question (I know, innocent till proven guilty, but come on..be real here) who he was, what he did and to whom he did it to. A newworthy event in Steamboat. As far as the papers responsibility to report the sex assaults, why? I wouldn't want my juvenile daughter's incident reported in such a small town till I knew that an arrest could be made. The incident that happened at the home, you let a stranger in your home and you contend that he attacks you. Dont put yourself in that situation and I am not in any way saying that this was the womans fault. Back to common sense and responsibility for your own actions and precautions. The last? Attacked in the street by an unknown person. I believe it did make the record. Details were released as they became known. So, why the anger at the paper for NOT reporting facts they did not have, and did not have the right to print immediately? Shoot, just think of all the daily corrections already. Perhaps prudence took place............

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Tricia Nickerson 4 years, 5 months ago

Is it too much work to move forward when there is conflicting statements?

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seeuski 4 years, 5 months ago

We will disagree on the details of 2 of these incidents. From someone who knew both victims I gained info that the intruder was not let in the house and that the victim had major bruising on her back along with other evidence too graphic to mention. I won't discuss what happened on the street for deference to the victim but something is being tested at a forensics lab. The street crime won't produce a suspect from anything but a forensics match but the identity of the home invader has been known since day one and the person is of an ethnic origin which does not make them automatically illegal but I would assume that law enforcement has made that determination. I've made my feelings known in several previous posts so I won't repeat it but I have also indicated that I am theorizing and not claiming my suspicions as based on any reported facts. None of us have those, do we?

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bandmama 4 years, 5 months ago

seeuski-agree to disagree, although I dont think we do. No we, the public are not privy to the "facts". If there were such blatant injuries sustained, makes you wonder why the Pilot reported that ther police say there weren't any. And I also know someone who knows someone (and I know the victim) Again, conflicting stories MAJOR conflicting stories, who do we believe? I was stating..ahem..."facts" as reported by the paper as I read them. As far as evidence to graphic to mention? You did, back it up and go to the police and demand further investigation. If it is heresay...well, good luck. If the suspect were illegal, I am willing to bet that that will be reported. Some persons around here consider something like that as a juicy bit of gossip and worth another article.

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seeuski 4 years, 5 months ago

This is getting too strange. I'll let you demand the evidence from the police. Over and out.

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bandmama 4 years, 5 months ago

seeuski- You brought up the "evidence to graphic to mention". That IS strange. I suggested that you demand further investigations from the police, not evidence.

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seeuski 4 years, 5 months ago

I have by posting here don't you think?

If my supposition as stated before is true you could demand all day long to no avail and that would be up to the police and the DA anyway. The seemingly different positions we have is that you are projecting a "trust the messenger" thing and I am saying there "may" be a higher power at work here, like the Feds because I believe the police want to solve crimes and bring the bad guys to justice, don't you? So please remain reasonable in this discussion as I am not the perp. and your last sentence is outta line to be honest.

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bandmama 4 years, 5 months ago

seeuski...LOL! I assume your last comment is directed towards me. I hope your higher power works for you. I pointed out simply that it would have been irresponsible for the paper to publish such "scary story" without details. They waited till they had some more. I am sorry that you found my last sentence "outta line" but I fail to see why it may be so. There seems to be an under lying anger at the lack of information given to the public. You stated in a post above that you had an insiders opinion and heresay comments about one of the victims, the term you used, "evidence to graphic to mention" (which you still mentioned) makes one think you may have more info on a crime the police didn't take seriously. I merely suggested that you go to the police with the information you have or dont mention such things. It tends to cause fear and unrest amongst the natives. As far as me wanting the police to nab those bad guys? Sure I do, you may need to re read some of your posts before thinking that others are being unreasonable. see ya skiing.

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brian ferguson 4 years, 5 months ago

i would agree with buggedbybattles,arent conflicting reports between perp-victim the basis of our "justice system".If everyone was telling the truth there would be no need for lawyers,courts,ect. personally, i find this to be an extremely sad day in steamboat springs history,since ive been here,ive never heard of anyone being knocked out and raped on a dark street corner. certainly there have been many instances of some majorly evil things going on (assaults,fights,robberies,ect) but i think this takes our quaint little town to a whole new level of scary.

i was recently told by a high ranking city official that the attempted rape by the tortilla weilding wannabe rapist is actually an "urban legend",that it never happened.is this true? if so why would it be reported by the police and newspaper?

and to the oak street victim,im so sorry to hear what happened,my thoughts are with you.

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brian ferguson 4 years, 5 months ago

BORDERS, LANGUAGE, CULTURE.

ITS OK TO BE A PROUD AMERICAN.

HELP SAVE YOUR COUNTRY,COUNTY,CITY.....................CLEAN YOUR OWN HOUSE, MOW YOUR OWN LAWN,SHOVEL YOUR OWN SNOW, BOYCOTT BUISNESSES THAT HIRE ILLEGALS.

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bandmama 4 years, 5 months ago

Yes, conflicting stories make up the majority of legal cases..... Bear in mind that there is a huge difference between conflicting stories and a false or misleading report of a crime. When one does report something that is not quite what one experienced, it draws attention away from other such incidents that did/do occur.

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