Related MediaKidnapped SFC student
Kidnapped SFC student escapes; police seek to ID suspect
Published: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:19 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:30 p.m.
Santa Fe College students are expressing concern about their safety amid reports of an armed abduction Thursday afternoon and a stepped-up campus police presence.
Mary Bromenschenkel, 21, said Friday she didn't know a student had been abducted, and that concerned her.
"I would think they should have more police on patrol, even cameras in the parking lots," she said.
Area law enforcement are searching for a man suspected of kidnapping a female Santa Fe College student on Thursday afternoon.
The 18-year-old student told investigators the man, who was armed with a handgun, approached her between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the North Parking Lot near Building O and forced her into his truck. She was able to escape after he spent a few hours driving her around.
College Police Chief Ed Book said his agency was notified that the student was missing at 6:41 p.m., when her family called to report that she had not returned home as expected. Investigators said the girl had been in touch with her family a couple of hours earlier.
"Within four minutes, we had found her car in a parking lot, and what we saw there led us to be concerned," Book said. He would not elaborate on the evidence at the scene but said it made him decide to "call on every available resource." That included K-9 teams, a helicopter and assistance from other agencies.
The Alachua County Sheriff's Office, which has more resources than the college police department, was asked to take over the criminal investigation, Book said.
At about 8 p.m. Thursday, sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey said, the student escaped from the truck.
"It is my understanding that she was able to get away from the man in the 12000 block of Northwest 39th Avenue and went to a home in that area to call for help," Forgey said.
Investigators spoke with the young woman, but Forgey said she was still quite shaken by the experience and will be speaking with investigators again when she has had time to recover.
Based on the student's initial interview, Forgey said deputies are looking for a small, dark pickup with dark tinted windows and a gray interior. The man has a dark complexion, but his race was not known, deputies said. He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans, had close-cut hair and a tattoo on his right hand, the student told deputies. On Friday night, deputies also provided a composite drawing of the suspect and reported that the man may be Middle Eastern, may be between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-11 and in his late 20s to early 30s.
At times while he was driving her around, the student said, the abductor was talking on a cellphone in a foreign language she didn't recognize.
Additional Santa Fe College officers were assigned to patrol the parking lots, with an emphasis on parking lots 8 and 9 across from the gymnasium as well as the gymnasium area and Building O, where the construction programs are housed.
On Friday morning, Sgt. Dan Brainerd and other officers were concentrated around those parking lots and were stopping cars as they entered. On the main campus, many students were unaware that a crime had occurred.
Jessica Threadgill, 19, sat in the cafeteria with friends discussing the abduction.
"I don't feel safe," she said. "I'm not walking around at night."
Cierra Miller, 19, said she usually goes on morning runs near campus. She and her friends received a crime alert Friday morning. Several of them said they didn't carry personal protection and felt unsafe.
"We need more security," she said. "There's not even many security telephones in the parking lot."
Parking lots 8 and 9, unlike the main lot in front of campus, do not have emergency telephones.
Anyone with information on the abduction may contact the Alachua County Sheriff's Office Combined Communications Center at 955-1818 or CrimeStoppers at 372-7867.
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