Police seek suspect in three similar assaults 

Victim early Tuesday morning says she was raped

A worried call from home alerted College of Charleston senior Megan Ryan to a string of strikingly similar assaults targeting young women in the neighborhood around the college.

"I didn't hear about it till my mom, from out of state, sent me the link and asked me if I had heard about it," she says.

The three attacks, including a sexual assault, occurred in a two-block radius just north of the school. In each case, the college-aged women were walking alone early in the morning when they were punched in the head or face by an unknown average-height white man.

Police spokesman Charles Francis says there isn't enough evidence to connect the incidents, but they appear to have similarities. They occurred on Bull, Calhoun, and Vanderhorst streets. Public safety officials at the College of Charleston are going door to door with city police in the neighborhood, says CofC spokesman Mike Robertson. "We're working with them and telling our students to be aware," he says.

Ryan says she never received any information from the school. Junior Sarah Vande Kamp said she saw two separate campus alerts for the incidents, but nothing suggesting they could be related. "I've been taking extra precautions," Vande Kamp says. "If the crimes are related, it is so important for people, especially college-age women, to take precautions and not walk alone late at night."

According to police, the first incident was at 2 a.m. on Jan. 21. A young woman told police she was walking on Calhoun Street near Pitt Street when a man struck her in the face and fled the scene. She described him as being between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet with a medium build.

An hour later, a woman walking along Bull Street just a block away said she was approached by a man walking in the opposite direction when he punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground. She described him as being between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall with short brown hair spiked up.

Early Tuesday morning, a woman says she was walking along a section of Vanderhorst one block north of the first incident and two blocks from the second, when an unidentified suspect struck her in the face and then sexually assaulted her. She described him as being between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing between 150 to 170 pounds, with short hair.

Anyone with information should contact the Charleston Police at (843) 577-7434 or Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111. The sketch provided is from the first incident.


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