Police arrest 4 suspects in Mardi Gras abduction, rape case

February 22, 2012 3:40:46 AM PST
The Mardi Gras celebrations took a dark turn for one woman who says she was abducted and sexually assaulted over the weekend.

While people were stockpiling beads and watching the last parade of this year's Mardi Gras, Galveston police were working to catch four men they say did more than just ruin a 23-year-old woman's celebration.

Greg Hill, 19, and Daniel Rogers, 19, were arrested in Friendswood late Tuesday night, joining Aaron Brown, 20, and Darel Johnson, 18, in jail. All four face aggravated kidnapping charges.

Police say as revelers were heading out of the Strand area early Saturday morning, the victim was kidnapped, taken off the island and sexually assaulted. According to Galveston Police Department Capt. Jeff Heyse, her initial encounter with the young men seemed benign.

"Because the crowd was so large, they were going to help her out of the crowd," Heyse said.

Instead, he says they forced her into a car. They then took her off the island to an undisclosed location and raped her.

"At a point later in the morning, she did manage to escape her abductors and since that time, has been in the custody of family and police," Heyse said.

Police won't say how she escaped, only that it was some six hours later. The victim provided just enough information to lead investigators to the suspects.

Investigators believe the attack was planned, and they used the crowd to their advantage.

"You to go to an area with that big of a crowd you have anonymity, right off the bat, because who's going to remember who," Heyse said.

Mike Dean, a Strand business owner, organized this year's festivities.

"Saturday night was a very busy night, lots of folks down there. We had a huge police presence," Dean said.

Dean said he was stunned to hear Sunday's attack.

"Once the police inform us about what happened, we'll take some steps with them, our security providers and see if there's anything we can do to change things to provide help," Dean said.

Police say the victim did start to feel uncomfortable with the suspects but by then, it was too late.

Galveston police do believe it's possible that the suspects are responsible for more similar attacks in the area so they want to hear from other law enforcement agencies or other possible victims.