The Columbia Police and Boone County Sheriff’s departments are still searching for three men in connection with two separate rapes that occurred within the last week.
The first rape occurred at 10:45 p.m. Sunday in Worley Street Park when a 36-year-old Columbia woman was forced into the park and sexually assaulted by two men, police said in a release.
Police Sgt. Stephen Monticelli said the victim was raped and burned with cigarettes during what he called a “brutal assault.”
The woman was treated at a hospital following the assault.
The first man is described as black, having a slender build, medium complexion, in his 20s, between 5 feet 11 inches and six feet tall and wearing a gold chain.
The second man is described as a stocky black male in his 20s with a muscular build, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with long sideburns leading into a goatee and mustache.
The sheriff’s department is searching for a third man in a separate rape that occurred Tuesday morning on Dripping Springs Road.
A 35-year-old Columbia woman was sexually assaulted outside her home by a man who had stopped to ask the woman for directions, the department said in a release.
The man is described as white, 6 feet tall or taller, in his 40s with a medium to large build, clean shaven with crew-cut blond hair. At the time of the sexual assault the man was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans.
Sgt. Tom Reddin of the sheriff’s department said the woman did not know the man, which makes finding him more difficult.
“Most rapes are incidents where the victim has had some previous contact with the individual,” Reddin said.
In a situation where the assailant is a stranger, evidence collected on the scene and forensic analysis can help identify a person when law enforcement does not know who the suspect is to begin with, Reddin said.
Reddin said this is the fourth rape the department has investigated so far this year. In 2003, the department had eight rape reports.
Both police and the sheriff’s department said these crimes do not seem to be connected. Anyone with information in these cases is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 875-8477.