Denison Police Chief Jay Burch took to Facebook Wednesday to refute some views expressed on social media and let the public know his department is still investigating the report last week from an 18-year-old woman who she was abducted outside her Denison residence and sexually assaulted.
“As many of you know, there was a report last week of an abduction and sexual assault of a young woman allegedly by three black men as reported by the victim,” Burch said in his post on the Denison Texas Police Department page. “We are aware of the significant comments on social media reference this case. As with a high profile case as this alleged crime is, many persons offer comment and opinion that others believe to be true. For example, one person posted that random women were often being abducted and sexually assaulted by a person or persons in Denison. This is simply not true. But for the case alleged last week, it has been over 5 years or more since such a similar type case was reported in Denison.”
At about 5:11 p.m. on March 8, Denison Police responded to the 3800 block of Texoma Parkway in reference to a possible abduction because Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said the woman’s fiance was unable to make contact with her. He called someone to go check on the woman and her cellphone, keys and a shoe were found near her vehicle at the apartment complex, Eppler said.
At about 8 p.m. that evening, the woman walked to a church off Spur 503 and police and EMS personnel were called by the people still at the building.
“She said that three black males in an SUV had taken her and sexually assaulted her,” Eppler said last week. “(The vehicle) went down a bumpy road. They sexually assaulted her and then told her to run.”
The woman was transported to the Texoma Medical Center for examination and treatment.
“Emotions also run high in such a serious case, especially when detectives must look at every angle in such a report,” Burch said in his Facebook post. “There is no way to look at every angle without some people getting offended and I apologize for that, but it is the way we have to work an investigation to hopefully have a successful prosecution one day. That said, I’m sure the mere posting of this information will draw many negative comments toward the police department because some people are quick to offer their opinion that whatever the police do is wrong or not enough. I understand that opinion.”
Burch said a reason for his Facebook post was to let the public know the department remains diligent in working this case.
“We have contacted or will be contacting state and federal authorities that are experts in this area of investigation as we want to leave no stone unturned,” Burch said. “When and if we have a case to present to the District Attorney’s Office, we will consult with them in that regard as well. Our detectives have recovered evidence we hope will provide identifiable DNA. The downside of getting the evidence processed at the state lab is that it sometimes takes months to get results although we will ask for expedience.”
Denison Det. Thomas Unerfusser shared similar comments in an email sent to local media Tuesday night. He stated the case is an ongoing investigation with no new information to broadcast at this time.
“Evidence has been gathered and is being submitted to the Crime Lab for analysis,” Unerfusser said in his email. “This takes time, and updates will be given as we get new information. Again, this is not a fast process for DNA analysis. Thank you for your patience.”
Burch concluded his Facebook statement by again assuring people Denison is a safe place.
“In spite of this alleged crime and the opinion of some on social media, Denison remains a safe city with a very low crime rate and the police department will do our best to keep it this way,” Burch said. “Speaking of crime, another reason I wanted to post this today is because other cases still continue, albeit much less in priority to last week’s alleged offense, and you will be seeing the typical postings of photos of theft suspects as in the past on this site. Before we posted photos of theft suspects for example, we just wanted to make sure the community knows the reported case from last week remains a priority. Obviously, should we get photos or other information to post from last week’s alleged offense, we will certainly post it as soon as we get it. Thank you for your patience.”
Police asked that anyone with information relating to the abduction and sexual assault from last week call the Denison Police Department at 903-465-2422.
Herald Democrat reporter Alex Maxwell contributed to this article.