INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Independence police announced on Thursday that officers were searching for a suspect connected to a kidnapping and sexual assault that began at an apartment complex earlier in the week.
Investigators said the crime began in the area of East 37th Terrace South near Arrowhead Avenue.
Around 9 p.m. on Monday, police said a man lured a woman over to his car before pulling her inside.
After driving around a mile away, investigators said the suspect sexually assaulted the woman in a secluded spot near the area of R.D. Mize Road and South Selsa Road.
Police described the crime as a kidnapping and said the suspect was able to get away.
While the specific apartment complex where the kidnapping began was not identified by police, the crime brought plenty of concern for neighbors nearby.
“It’s very scary because I thought this was a safe neighborhood to live in,” said Jillian Braton, whose mother lives in the area where the crime was reported. “It’s very important that he suffers for his actions. That girl is probably going through so much trauma.”
Police released a sketch of the suspect on Thursday and asked for the public’s help in finding the man responsible.
Braton told 41 Action News that seeing the picture made her feel worried.
“He just looks like an older guy. He looks so innocent but he’s not,” she said. “He looks like a normal person but it’s just scary.”
For others, like Laci P., simply walking around the neighborhood on Thursday brought some concern with the suspect still on the loose.
“It’s just very alarming and very disturbing,” she said. “I’m definitely going to be trying to make a point of not being out here for any reason when it starts getting dark.”
The woman told police the small silver car the suspect drove had a dark interior but she was not sure if the car was a two-door or four-door vehicle, an Independence news release stated.
The victim also told police her attacker was a white man, about six feet tall with a thin build.
The woman added that the man had little to no hair, dark eyebrows and eyes and sunken cheeks, according to the release.
The man wore dark pants and a dark tank top.
Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.