RCMP release sketch of suspect in UBC sex assaults
Police have received 35 tips since sketch issued
RCMP have released a composite sketch of the suspect in a string of sexual assaults at the University of British Columbia this year.
Sgt. Peter Thiessen said the suspect in question is a Caucasian male, with dark or olive skin, in his late 20s to early 30s. He is slim in build and is between 5-8 and 6-2.
Six sexual assaults have taken place on the UBC campus over the past several months. Police said they were likely committed by the same man.
“Investigators have been working with all the victims and witnesses in the six incidents on a composite of the suspect,“ said Thiessen at a Tuesday press conference introducing the sketch. “We believe this is the best representation of a collective suspect description.”
The most recent assault, reported Oct. 27, involved a young woman walking home from Gage Hall on Student Union Boulevard shortly before 1:30 a.m. She noticed a shadow behind her and was grabbed from behind. When she flailed her arms, the attacker ran off, police had said.
The other five reported incidents occurred April 19, May 19, Sept. 28, Oct. 13 and Oct. 19.
UBC administrators responded positively to the RCMP announcement. “This is an important development,” said Louise Cowin, vice-president, students, in a statement. “These attacks have become our top priority, and we hope this RCMP drawing will lead to a break in the case. We are asking all members of our community to provide any information they can to help the RCMP find the perpetrator.”
The statement went on to say that efforts were being made to immediately distribute the sketch and suspect description as broadly as possible across the campus via UBC’s Stay Safe website, mass e-mail, and throughout student residences and other campus buildings.
Thiessen defended the time it has taken the RCMP to produce a composite sketch, and how long the investigation is taking overall.
“It’s an investigation that encompasses a large area,” said Thiessen. “There is quite a long list of potential persons of interest. We’ve put every piece of resource that we possible can — and if we need more, we will do that to find this individual. Unfortunately these things take time.”
He would not comment on whether any of the persons of interest attended or worked at UBC. “We’re not making any assumptions on where this individual may live or be every day.”
Anyone with information on the suspect or any of the attacks is asked to contact the RCMP's tipline at 778-290-5291 or 1-877-543-4822.
With files from CBC's Meera Bains