Caleb Heaton charged with Strathcona sexual assault
Neighbourhood sets up coffee fund for people who rushed to aid of woman and held assailant for police
Caleb Timothy Heaton, 25, faces seven charges in connection with the brutal sexual assault of a woman in her home in Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood on Thursday afternoon.
Court documents show the charges include aggravated sexual assault, breaking and entering, robbery and unlawful confinement.
The woman, who witnesses said was covered in blood following the attack, is recovering in hospital from serious injuries, according to police.
A man armed with a weapon barged into the woman's house just after 12 p.m. PT Thursday, tied her up, choked her using clothing, and sexually assaulted her with a rock and a knife, according to the court documents.
Investigators blocked off the crime scene overnight and were back at work this morning, combing the area for clues and talking to potential witnesses.
According to police, the suspect has a criminal record outside of B.C.
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said the police are continuing in their investigation and the assault is concerning.
"We have investigative teams that are putting together the strongest case we can against the suspect we have in custody," he said.
"And we're working hard on the westside assault to see if there's a linkage and we're also examining some other cases across Canada."
Good Samaritans to the rescue
Another man heard the woman's screams and intervened, getting into a fight with the assailant, police said. Several other people rushed to the aid of the woman.
The struggle spilled out onto the street, and they held the suspect until police arrived.
While police discourage witnesses from intervening, they described the man who rushed to the woman's aid as a "hero" and a Good Samaritan.
Plans are now in the works for a prayer walk for the woman as well as recognition for those who helped her.
Residents have started a coffee fund for her rescuers at the Union Market café, a local hangout. Because of a publication ban, we are unable to identify those witnesses who spoke to CBC News about the incident.
A GoFundMe account called Strathcona Cares was also set up for the victim by a neighbour, Shelley Sullivan.
"She was very brave and smart and strong. She fought back. She made noise. And help came in the form of some amazing heroic neighbours who showed a lot of courage, who stepped up, stopped this horrible crime, and probably saved this young woman's life."
The victim could be your sister or daughter, Sullivan wrote. More than $1,000 had been raised by early afternoon Friday.
Strathcona community activist Pete Fry said the community is doing what it can.
"We're all sick with concern for the young woman who was assaulted," he said. "I think everyone, the entire community's hearts are out for her and we really want to do what we can to support her."
- An earlier version of this article said Caleb Heaton faces six charges. In fact, he faces seven charges.Apr 01, 2015 5:55 PM PT