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Two Recent Sexual Assaults Could be Related Police Say

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

The Oxford Police Department is investigating an assault of a female that happened at about 8 p.m. Saturday night. Police say it could be the second attack made by the same man within hours of each other.

Police say this hat could be the key in identifying the suspect in a recent assault. Photo provided OPD.

Earlier Saturday, the University of Mississippi Police Department reported a sexual assault that occurred at about 2 p.m. somewhere along University Avenue.

OPD Maj. Jeff McCutchen said there was not enough evidence yet to say with certainty that both attacks were perpetrated by the same person, but it was not being ruled out as a possibility.

“We are working with the University Police Department on both cases,” McCutchen said. “There are definitely some similarities but nothing to say these two are for sure related at this time. But we are working with UPD as a joint team.”

According to UPD, the first victim reported that she was assaulted by a young, white male with brown hair, wearing a red polo shirt, possibly made of Dri-Fit material.

OPD is looking for the owner of this white vehicle as the suspect in two possible assaults on Saturday. Photo provided by OPD.

OPD reported Thursday that the second attack happened near South Fifth Avenue when the suspect grabbed the victim from behind as she walked east on Van Buren Avenue near South Fifth Street. She was able to fight the attacker off, run to a nearby residence and call 911. The suspect fled the scene on foot running west on Van Buren Avenue toward the Gertrude Ford Center parking lot where he got into a newer model white car.

The suspect then left the parking lot headed north toward West Jackson Avenue. As the vehicle was leaving the parking lot, several other vehicles were seen on video surveillance also driving through the Ford Center lot.

The suspect in the second attack was described as about 5-foot, 11-inches tall, wearing a dark-colored zip-up jacket with an orange or red shirt, khaki’s and a light tan Costa ball cap with a light blue Costa symbol.

“We believe the ball cap is the key piece to solving this crime,” said OPD Chief Joey East in a press release Thursday afternoon.

OPD is asking anyone who might have been in the Gertrude Ford parking lot between 7:45 and 8:10 p.m. Saturday to contact investigators.

OPD released a video showing the suspects’ car arriving at the Ford Center close to 8 p.m. He is seen walking away from the car. Other people are seen in the video and OPD is hoping to find witnesses who can provide more information.

McCutchen said women should take extra precautions until the suspects are caught.

“Always have a plan and let someone know your plan,” he said.

Crimestoppers has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Fortner at 662-232-2400 or via email at sfortner@oxfordpolice.net.

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