News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 8, 2013

Search continues for ‘The Walk’ assailant

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Police are still seeking a suspect in a reported sexual assault that occurred Saturday near 22nd Street and Wabash Avenue.

The alleged victim reported the incident shortly after it occurred between 2 and 2:30 p.m. while she was participating in “The Walk,” an unofficial part of homecoming festivities for Indiana State University.

Sgt. Jason Czupryn of the Terre Haute Police Department said the incident occurred just off Wabash Avenue. He declined to release additional details because of the pending investigation. He did state that the term “sexual assault” covers a wide range of actions.

The woman first reported the incident to an ISU police officer because that was the first law enforcement she saw, Czupryn said. The woman is not an ISU student. It was unknown if the suspect is an ISU student.

ISU Police issued a news release stating that the victim was grabbed around the throat by the unknown male who pulled her east into an alley and sexually assaulted her. The suspect is described as a dark-skinned male about 6-feet, 5-inches tall, clean shaven with short hair, heavyset wearing a blue shirt and tight jeans. He was last seen walking east on Wabash.

Anyone with information about the incident can contact Terre Haute Police at 238-1661.

Meanwhile, ISU Police Chief Bill Mercier said that the investigation of the reported assault and an attempted robbery on campus made for a busy weekend for local law enforcement.

ISU Police made two arrests at a late night dance on campus — one for public intoxication and one for disorderly conduct — but did not make any arrests during The Walk along Wabash.

“It was very busy,” Mercier said of the weekend enforcement activities, “and of course, we had these major events, which were unusual for homecoming.”

Public behavior during The Walk was reported to be more subdued than in years past, when numerous arrests were made for alcohol-related offenses.

“I am pleased to report that Indiana State Excise Police officers made no arrests during this weekend's Homecoming at Indiana State University,” reported Cpl. Travis Thickstun. “After years of consistent enforcement by several law enforcement agencies and the cooperative efforts of alcoholic beverage establishments working with State Excise Police officers, the atmosphere along the route of the Walk has changed significantly. While our officers used to make dozens of arrests years ago, ISU Homecoming is now a much more family-friendly environment.”

At Terre Haute City Court, the number of criminal cases believed to be associated with The Walk was estimated at 10 — five minor in consumption of alcohol and five minor consuming alcohol.

However, because many citations are issued to people for minor violations, those people may not show up for their court dates for a few weeks.

“It may be another 10 days before all of the charges are filed with us,” stated deputy city clerk Michelle Edwards.

But she did note that the last three or four years have seen a decline in the number of arrests and citations issued at homecoming, compared with about 10 years ago.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.