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Abducted Woman Fights Off Would-Be Rapist, Stabs Him

Times Staff Writer

A 34-year-old woman abducted outside a Stanton self-service laundry foiled a would-be rapist by fighting back and stabbing him with his own knife, police said.

The woman, who was not identified, was in fair condition Thursday in a Bellflower hospital. Thomas Edward Kuranda, 24, of Stanton was in Orange County Jail on suspicion of kidnaping, attempted rape and attempted murder. Both suffered stab wounds, bruises and cuts in the Wednesday night attack, Cypress Police Lt. Bob Bandurraga said.

Kuranda allegedly forced the woman into her own car at knifepoint outside the laundry at Cerritos Avenue and Dale Street and forced her to drive him to Cypress, where he attempted to rape her. But a resident heard the woman’s screams and called police, who captured Kuranda in a nearby back yard where he had fled.

Police said Thursday that they were unable to question the woman in detail about the attack. They noted that the incident followed reports about a UCLA study that found that victims who fight back may be able to thwart their attackers.

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“This is a classic” example of fighting back, Bandurraga said. “This guy is armed with a knife, she puts up one hell of a struggle, he’s in jail and he’s the one that’s really injured.”

The incident occurred about 11:10 p.m. when Kuranda allegedly entered the laundry, asked the woman for a ride and she said no, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Richard J. Olson said.

When she went to her car, Kuranda allegedly approached her with a knife and forced her to drive around. During the drive, he made it clear that he intended to rape her, Bandurraga said.

He forced her to pull over along Gene Street south of Lee Drive in Cypress, police said. “The man stabbed and choked the victim,” Bandurraga said. “She resisted vigorously and screamed for help.”

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A resident heard the screams and called police, who cordoned off the area and conducted a yard-by-yard search with police dogs and an Anaheim police helicopter.

“The injured, bleeding suspect was located hiding in the bushes and was taken into custody,” Bandurraga said.

He was treated at La Palma Community Hospital for stab wounds and bruises and transferred to Orange County Jail, where he was being held without bail Thursday.

The woman was taken to Los Alamitos General Hospital and transferred to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Bellflower, where she was in fair condition Thursday with stab wounds to her hand and neck.

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Law enforcement officials cautioned that it isn’t always wise to fight an attacker, even though fighting back worked in this woman’s case.

“I’m not going to tell a potential victim of a rape that she must resist, but it’s a good consideration unless she’s faced with something that could produce deadly force, such as a knife or handgun,” Bandurraga said.

There is no textbook way a victim should react to an attacker, said Santa Ana Police Cpl. Alan Caddell, an investigator with the department’s crimes against persons division.

“In any situation when you’re confronted with a subject, it depends on your size, his size, your state of mind and his state of mind, and if there are drugs involved,” Caddell said.

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“There’s always that unknown factor--you don’t know what the particular attacker is going to be like,” he said. “Fighting back may discourage some, but it will upset and anger others.”


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