College students nervous about their safety following a reported abduction and sexual assault at Central Michigan University can do several things to protect themselves from similar situations, Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said.
Central Michigan University police said in an incident spanning Jan. 16 to Jan. 17, a Central Michigan student was abducted at gun point, sexually assaulted and escaped a house lit on fire by the suspect, according to media reports.
According to the reports, the student had been walking to her car in a university parking near the center of the Mt. Pleasant campus lot late Wednesday night when she was approached by prison parole Eric Ramsey, police said.
After forcing her inside her SUV he took her to the house where he and his mother lived and bound and raped her, reports said. He then returned the student to her car with two cans of gasoline and began driving.
She escaped by jumping from the moving car and making her way to a nearby house where the occupants locked themselves and the student in a bathroom and called 9-1-1, according to the reports. Ramsey took the opportunity to pour the gas around the house, light it on fire and leave. The fire was extinguished and the occupants and student escaped.
Ramsey later was fatally shot by police after hitting three police cars, according to reports.
“People should be aware of their surroundings at all times,” McGlothian-Taylor said.
She said students should avoid talking on cellphones as they walk because it could distract from what is happening around them.
Other safety tips included walking in well lit areas, walking assertively and going to areas with lots of people if you think you’re being followed.
She also said using the CATA bus service Night Owl and using State Walk, a service out of the MSU Library where students can be walked to on-campus locations by volunteers, can also be used to stay safe.