News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 11, 2013

Police seek truck in alleged Fowler Park rape

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A woman hunting mushrooms was reportedly raped April 29 in southern Vigo County, and police are seeking tips about a pickup truck and the identity of three men involved.

The Vigo County Sheriff’s Department reports that the incident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. at the Fowler Park Wilderness Area located along Bono Road east of the main park.

The alleged victim told police that she had gone to the area to go mushroom hunting. She told police that as she rode a moped along a gravel road leading to the fishing area, she passed a parked older two-tone blue Chevrolet or GMC pickup. She said the truck was a late 1970s or early ’80s model in rough condition with rust on the lower body. The alleged victim said she saw three men standing near the bed of the truck and noticed a beer can sitting on the bed rail. She described one of the men as white, and two men as black, and they were in their mid 20s to early 30s.

The woman told police that as she passed the truck, the white male made a derogatory comment to her because she was riding a moped. Thinking that they might be intoxicated, the woman said, she ignored the comment. She parked her moped at the trail head and walked into the wooded area to mushroom hunt. A few minutes later, said said, she heard a voice and looked up to find the same three men standing on a hillside looking down at her.

The men were again making rude comments to her, she reported, so she made a comment back. That’s when the white male became angry and suddenly ran toward her, knocking her to the ground and sitting on her upper body. The two black males held her arms and legs, and one of the black males raped her.

The three men ran from the area, the woman said, and after she was certain they were gone, she went back to her residence. She later confided in a friend, who took her to Union Hospital for treatment.

At the hospital, the alleged victim described the suspects as a white male wearing a ball cap, T-shirt and blue jeans, with shaggy brown hair and poor-quality teeth. The two black males had facial hair and were wearing hats, torn jeans and boots.

Deputies spoke to Fowler Park staff who reported seeing a blue truck matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the area around that time period.

Chief Deputy Clark Cottom told the Tribune-Star that investigators believe the alleged assault was not preplanned. However, deputies have been instructed to enhance patrols in the Fowler Park area throughout the summer as a precaution.

Anyone with information about the three males or a two-toned blue pickup truck is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 812-462-3226 or Crime Stoppers at 812-238-STOP.