About 2:45 P.M. on November 7, 2014, police responded to a Newport News residence to a report of sexual assault that was alleged to have occurred behind the Kohl’s department at 551 Bland Boulevard. The victim, a 17-year-old Newport News woman, reported to the officer that she was walking to her car in the shopping center parking lot when she noticed a large black male standing next to her car and as she was getting into the car the man grabbed her and dragged her to the side of the Kohl’s store where he sexually assaulted her. The victim stated that she pushed the suspect away and he lost his balance and fell to the ground got back up and ran into a wooded area near I-64. The victim described the suspect as a black male about 5’8’ tall and weighing between 300 and 400 pounds and having short braids and rotted teeth and was unshaven.
Special Victims Unit detectives began an intense and thorough investigation which included canvasing the area for anyone who may have witnessed any part of the assault and working with the media asking anyone that may have information to contact Crime Line or detectives. The victim worked with police to develop a sketch of the suspect which was provided to all media. The victim (identity hidden) was interviewed by local media which, along with the sketch, aired on local television news and appeared in print media.
On March 2, 2015, the lead detective received notice that the DNA submitted for testing matched that of a white male from Newport News. With this information the lead detective conducted another interview with the victim.
As a result of the DNA testing and other information, the report of the sexual assault has been unfounded. The assault never occurred, at the shopping center or anywhere else.
Many cases of sexual assault go unreported for any number of reasons. It is extremely important, as this case illustrates, for everyone to understand that police aggressively investigate any report of sexual assault. It is also extremely important that victims of any sexual assault understand the importance of reporting the incident to police.