AUSTIN (KXAN) — Private security guards at two sorority houses ran toward a woman’s screams early Sunday morning during an attempted kidnapping in the West Campus neighborhood, students said.
According to the University of Texas at Austin Police Department, this happened at about 4 a.m. in the 2700 block of Nueces Street, which is near West 27th Street. An attacker reportedly grabbed a female student walking in that area and tried to hold her in his vehicle before she somehow escaped.
“Our security guard and also the [guard from the] other sorority house right next to us heard the screaming of like, ‘Help me,'” Lana Dokic, a UT junior, said Monday. “He immediately rushed out and saw what was going on and basically saved her life, but as far as I know, the guy might have had her in the car for a short period of time before she jumped out. But our security guard was on it. He was tracking the car, so it was just a whole lot of craziness happening.”
Officers from the Austin Police Department and UTPD searched the area, but they never found the suspect. Investigators described him as a Hispanic male last seen wearing an orange shirt and black pants. They said he was seen traveling in an older model black sedan like a Lincoln Town Car or similar vehicle.
University police sent out an alert to campus about the attempted kidnapping hours after it happened. They said they did so once they received confirmed information from Austin police, the leading agency on this investigation. The delay concerned UT sophomore Jacqueline Campos, who lives in the apartment complex directly above where this incident happened.
“You know, it was four in the morning, but there were a lot of people still out going to parties, things like that,” Campos said. “If you were walking in the area, you might have wanted to avoid the area or gotten home maybe if you were notified earlier about the incident.”
Austin police would not offer any comment about the ongoing investigation when KXAN reached out Monday.
Nicholas Teague, the public safety and security director at Texas Public Safety and Investigation, said his firm expects to get more calls now to provide additional security coverage in West Campus.
“We feel that there’s a direct connection between the lack of ability for law enforcement to take action on these lower-level crimes that has emboldened individuals in the area to take things further,” Teague said. “So we feel that the only way to really combat that is to be a visible presence to be proactive, not reactive. That’s really where security comes into play. Where law enforcement doesn’t have the resources and ability is we are a continuous visible presence that deters crime.”
UTPD said anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.