Woman attacked with knife after online encounter

Man had 'EMT firefighter' in screen name

INDIANAPOLIS - Police have confiscated records from a social media site as they try to solve a sexual attack at knifepoint under an Indianapolis bridge.

A 26-year-old woman recently told police she was attacked at knifepoint after an encounter with a man she met on a social networking site.

Police said the attack happened under an Indianapolis bridge, and investigators have confiscated records linked to the site. The woman said she had a steak knife held against her face as the man grabbed her from behind.

She said she started texting an emailing with the man known as "Sam" on a social media site called "MeetMe.com."

The site claims to offer some 90 million members a way to meet new people.

The woman said the man used a profile on the site that contained the words “Firefighter” and “EMT” and she said she began exchanging text messages with the man back in February.

She said he asked her for sex in those text messages but she declined. 

Police said she agreed to meet up with the man anyway, insisting on a public meeting location near Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis.

After meeting up with the man, who claimed to be 33 years old, she agreed to walk with the man for nearly two miles, heading west to White River State Park and then north through the Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus on Michigan Street near the White River.

The woman told police he asked her to step under a bridge with him since it was raining, but she refused at first. She then agreed to step under the 10th Street Bridge over the White River. That's when she said he grabbed her from behind and covered her face, ordering her not to scream.

She said he pulled a “sturdy steak knife” and pressed it against her face, telling her, “Do as I say and you won’t get hurt.”

In a search warrant filed last week in the case, police wrote that the man also told his victim, “I could kill you right now.”

He forced the woman to perform a sex act and then grabbed her cellphone, telling her he did not want her calling for help.

She then walked away and flagged down an IUPUI student at a dormitory on Porto Alegre Street, police said.

Detectives have served a search warrant on the woman’s cellphone provider in hopes of using location data to track down the attacker. Police also requested the identifying information of the person who set up the profile on MeetMe.com.

Typically, police ask web site owners for the unique Internet Protocol address that may identify a particular user’s computer. They also routinely ask for any credit card or other identifying information used to establish a new account on a social media website.

While interviewing at IU Methodist Hospital, police said the victim burst into tears and blamed herself "for being so stupid."

The IMPD sex crimes detective assigned to the case told the Call 6 Investigators no arrests had been made. He said the prosecutor's office is now examining the MeetMe.com information provided about the suspect, as well as other evidence in the case.

The officer wrote in his search warrant that the woman’s cellphone carrier thwarted parts of the investigation. In asking a judge to force AT&T Wireless to hand over records, the officer wrote that he asked the victim to have her cellphone carrier activate a locator program on her phone shortly after the attack but the company “refused to assist her.”

The officer wrote that cellular records and some location information from the victim's phone were retrieved later with the search warrant signed by a judge.

The suspect’s profile was taken down from the MeetMe.com site shortly after the attack, police said.

The Indianapolis case becomes the latest in a series of sexual assaults that started on the social media site. In July, two different teenagers were sexually assaulted by men they had met on the site. Police made arrests in both cases.

In October, the Fresno Bee reported on a man's arrest for sexually assaulting someone he met on the site.

In February, an Air Force airman station in Hawaii was arrested in Utah, where police said he met a child for sex after chats that started on the site.

 

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