Cindy Freeman and Cindy Galloway live in San Carlos, where a series of rapes has occurred over the past several months. Police believe that the same man is committing the crimes. In each case, the abductions occurred on or near Mission Gorge Road.
About a week ago, a friend of Galloway’s was sexually assaulted--"not raped,” Galloway said. Although the woman refused to report the crime, which occurred in San Carlos, Galloway decided to act.
Last weekend, she and Freeman distributed more than 600 flyers, sticking them on shop windows, street signs and telephone booths. During their walking tours of the area, Freeman said, the two never go alone. They always take with them her two trained guard dogs, one a boxer, the other a pit bull mix.
This week, the two roommates have appeared on television. They’ve met with the family of one of the victims. Neighbors are approaching, wanting to know more, asking how they can help. Television and newspaper reporters are requesting interviews.
“Frankly, I’m exhausted,” Freeman, 27, said Thursday. “I’m trying to go to school, too,” she said of her law studies.
Galloway, 25, said their goal is “for everyone to see his face, and for someone to turn him in. The more media coverage we get, the better the chance that someone will recognize his face and lead the police to capture him.”
Lt. Claude Gray, who heads the robbery, sex crimes and child abuse unit of the San Diego Police Department, said he has no objection to the women’s efforts.
“I think it’s very commendable that they’re getting involved,” Gray said. “I certainly don’t have any objection that they’re distributing flyers.”
Gray said police know of four cases that “bear enough similarities that would lead us to believe that the rapes were probably committed by the same individual.” He said the rapes--the ones that were reported, that is--date from Sept. 21 to Feb. 17.
He said the victims were accosted between the 6000 and 7000 blocks of Mission Gorge Road, between the 7000 and 8000 blocks of Margerum, between the 8000 and 9000 blocks of Jackson Drive and between the 10000 and 11000 blocks of San Diego Mission Road.
“In three of the cases, the victim was accosted getting into or out of the car,” Gray said. “The man was armed with a handgun in each case. The other woman was accosted near the swimming pool of her apartment complex, then taken back into her apartment.”
Gray said the victims are in their early 20s. He said descriptions of the suspect have him ranging in height from 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-10. He is described as a Middle Eastern man of medium build with dark hair. In the first case, he was described as unshaven; in all others, he was said to have a full beard and mustache. He is reported to range in age from 30 to 42.
Police distributed flyers bearing a composite drawing of the suspect to homes throughout San Carlos. Galloway and Freeman have added to that effort, saying they were frustrated by the effort made by the police.
“We hadn’t seen police in the neighborhood, nor had we seen anything about it on the TV news,” Galloway said. “We were frightened to even go out of our home, so we decided maybe there was something we could do. We made 600 copies of the flyers, spent $50 doing it, and just started walking. All kinds of people have given us information. Women give us the thumbs-up sign. An elderly man said he saw us on the news. He said, ‘I think what you’re doing is great. Hope you catch him.’ ”
Galloway said some shop employees were reluctant to have the flyers displayed in their windows, but the women “went up the chain of command” as Galloway put it, and in every case got permission to post them.
The flyer describes the suspect as a white male with fair complexion, 5-foot-8 to 6 feet tall, 30 to 40 years old, 150 to 160 pounds. A separate Neighborhood Watch flyer, distributed by the police, says the suspect is about 5-foot-5 to 6 feet, 150 pounds, with a full beard and mustache, black, wavy hair and a large, rounded nose, with possibly an acne-pitted face.
“He’s been described by all of the victims as having a full beard and mustache,” Galloway said. “But my friend said he didn’t have a beard, although everything else conformed to the description. They say he’s well-groomed and often wears a brown leather jacket with tinted glasses and a ring on his left hand.”
“When using a composite (drawing), sometimes the investigator gets conflicting statements from victims,” police spokesman Bill Robinson said. “Such has been the case in the San Carlos series, in which two composites given varied immeasurably in the portrayal of the suspect. In one case, the face is thin, the hair is long and combed straight back. In the other, the face is more round. The man is wearing glasses with the hair parted on the left and combed straight.” Robinson said police still believe the crimes were committed by one man.
Freeman said the friend of Galloway was abducted at the 24-hour Shell service station at Jackson Drive and Navajo Road. She said she and Galloway have also heard of two unreported rapes, one occurring near the Video Library on Navajo Road, the other on Tuxedo Road off Golfcrest Drive.
“I’ve been a crime victim in the past,” Freeman said, “so I’m upset about this. I can understand why these women aren’t reporting the crimes. We just want the suspect apprehended. In the meantime, we want women to be careful. The suspect usually attacks at night--although one rape was at 10 a.m.and usually when a woman is getting into or out of her car.”
Asked about the unreported cases, Lt. Gray said: “I only wish the women would come forward. We need all the information we can get.”