Mounties now believe one man is responsible for all three sexual assaults at the University of British Columbia and are working to create a composite drawing of him to release to the public.
"At this stage, it's highly likely based on the investigation and the information we've been able to put together through a variety of sources," RCMP Sergeant Peter Thiessen said Thursday. "We believe it's highly likely [it's one suspect]."
Investigators are now working with the three victims – all women between the ages of 17 and 20 – to create the composite.
"It's a very delicate process to try and get as much information from them as we can," Sgt. Thiessen said. "It's a very sensitive matter when you're dealing with women who have been victimized in the manner they have been victimized, and asking them to recount certain pieces of information that would help us."
Based on descriptions so far, the suspect is believed to be a Caucasian male, roughly six feet tall, in his mid- to late-20s. In all three incidents, he wore a dark hoodie. One woman described him as having an American accent.
The three sexual assaults took place on weekends – Saturday, Sept. 28; Sunday, Oct. 13; and Saturday, Oct. 19 – between midnight and 3:30 a.m. In all three, the suspect approached the young women from behind and attempted to drag them elsewhere while reaching under their skirts, police said. In all three, the women screamed, causing the assailant to flee.
However, in the most recent attack, the man punched the woman in the face – an escalation of violence police find troubling, university RCMP Sergeant Drew Grainger said earlier this week.
"We have seen this through other documented cases that this type of behaviour does escalate more quickly," he said.
Sgt. Thiessen cautioned people on campus to "pay attention to the information we're providing, be aware of the current climate and situation, take the appropriate steps to secure their personal safety … and have confidence that we're doing everything we can."
Sgt. Grainger said police have increased their presence and are employing both overt and covert tactics in efforts to identify the man responsible.
More to come.
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