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LSU abduction suspect identified by hat left in car

7 years 2 months 1 week ago Tuesday, March 21 2017 Mar 21, 2017 March 21, 2017 1:20 PM March 21, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - One person has been charged in connection to a reported abduction near a sorority house on LSU's campus.

Police have arrested 20-year-old Frank Herrera Jr. in connection to the incident, which occurred Wednesday. His bond was set at $475,000.

Herrera was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish prison. He was charged with kidnapping,  2nd degree rape, armed robbery, possession of schedule I drugs, and possession of a firearm on school property.

According to arrest records, a female LSU student was kidnapped at gunpoint in the "sorority area."

LSUPD spokesperson Kevin Scott said the female LSU student parked her vehicle behind a sorority house around 9 p.m. Wednesday night. Police say the suspect could be seen exiting a Black Dodge Dart a few minutes before the abduction.

After she parked and walked a short distance, police say Herrera forced the victim back into her vehicle. Scott said Herrera was armed.

Arrest records suggest the survivor told officers the suspect was wearing all black with a red bandana over his face. Officers say Herrera grabbed the victim and forced her back into her vehicle, using a small black pistol.

Officers say once the victim was in the vehicle, Herrera drove her to an off campus location while holding a gun to her thigh. Herrera then made her perform sexual acts on him while continuing to hold the gun.

Arrest records state Herrera drove the survivor to a store on Government Street and told her to go inside and buy condoms. The suspect then left the area in the victim's vehicle. The vehicle was later found parked in the sorority area.

While processing the victim's vehicle, authorities found a black beanie hat in the vehicle with Herrera's name on it. Police found that Herrara also owned a Black Dodge like the one the suspect left behind the sorority house. It was also dicovered that Herrara had been seen with a firearm in the days before the abduction. 

While taken into custody, LSUPD detectives say they found a small amount of marijuana on Herrera. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence Herrera was staying at, and for his vehicle. During that search, detectives found an iPhone case that matched the victim's iPhone case. They say they also found a small black 9mm semi-automatic pistol wrapped in a red bandana inside a safe in the suspect's room

According to arrest records, Herrera confessed to kidnapping the victim and forcing her to perform sexual acts.

Following Herrera's arrest, LSU Chancellor and President F. King Alexander sent an update on the situation. The following was included in the statement:

"I am president of LSU, but I am also a father to three young women. I understand the turmoil this event has caused for our students and their families. And I hear your concerns. Please know that the safety and security of every single LSU student is always our top priority, and necessary for providing the best education environment possible. We received some comments about the minimal amount of detail we released during the investigative process, and I would like to assure you that there was reasoning behind that - there was a preponderance of evidence pointing to the suspect and law enforcement was very close to making an arrest. We could not afford this predator any opportunity to flee or avoid being apprehended because we released too much information."

Two persons of interest were questioned by LSU Police for hours Friday.

The two men were taken into LSU Police custody at a home on General Adams Avenue around noon Friday. LSU Police has not released any information about the investigation at this time. WBRZ's Michael Vinsanau reports that a vehicle parked at the home matched the description of the abduction suspect's car described in a memo to law enforcement.

DNA on the victim's clothes was sent to the Louisiana State Police crime lab to be processed. The victim was attacked during daylight hours just before dark, a source told the Investigative Unit's Chris Nakamoto

LSUPD said they believe this was an isolated incident and a "crime of opportunity." They have no reason to believe Herrera and the victim knew each other.

University police released a flyer that showed a photo of a vehicle believed to belong to the suspect wanted in the abduction of an LSU student earlier this week. A spokesperson for LSU Police said the department did not feel the need to release the image to the media. 

The flyer, obtained by the Investigative Unit, says that the suspect abducted an LSU student, forced her into his own car and drove off campus with her. The flyer says the suspect drove the pictured vehicle onto campus and parked it in the area.

The flyer notes that the vehicle has damage to the driver and passenger sides and a missing passenger side mirror. 

LSU released the following statement Friday afternoon:

"We have identified a person and property of interest in relation to the investigation and more information will be forthcoming. This remains an active investigation."

At the time of Herrera's arrest, LSU's Office of Strategic Communications had not clarified publicly what happened. University spokesperson Ernie Ballard issued a statement Thursday saying "this incident" was being investigated.

"The safety of the LSU community is of the utmost importance to us. This incident is currently under investigation, and we can assure everyone that a thorough investigation is being conducted utilizing every resource available. These types of incidents are uncommon at LSU, and we do not tolerate these things occurring on our campus and to members of the LSU family."

The source tells Nakamoto that LSU did not want to release information because they did not want the suspect to flee the area.

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