by Dennis Dalman
Police officers and deputies are seeking leads to a kidnapping, physical assault and possible sexual assault that allegedly occurred the night of April 17 in Rice.
At 10:30 p.m. that night, officers answered a call about a male standing in the middle of Northeast River Road near the intersection of 119th Street NW. The man was wearing pajamas. Officers made contact with the 18-year-old man who said he had been kidnapped and assaulted.
According to the report, the man said he had been walking on Northeast River Road on the south edge of Rice when a stranger stopped his vehicle and offered the man a ride. The man told police that right after he got into the van, he was knocked unconscious. When he woke up he was lying by the side of the road.
The perpetrator was described by the victim as being a white male, about 50 years old, medium build, with a gray mustache and wearing a baseball cap, a blue denim jacket and blue denim pants. He was driving a full-sized van, dark-blue or purple in color, possibly with a partition behind the front seats. The model of the van might be year 2000 or in that range. The victim also said that man had what appeared to be a “Southern accent.”
The police report states the man complained of several injuries that could be consistent with a sexual assault. He was taken to the St. Cloud Hospital and treated for the injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening.
“I consider this a good wake-up call,” said Rice Police Chief Ross Hamann. “People must be alert to what’s going on around them.”
Hamann told the Newsleader the morning of April 19 that the police and the Benton County Sheriff’s Department are both working on the case, with meetings about the incident planned. Hamann said anyone with any leads should call the Benton County Sheriff’s Department because it has staff in the office at all times so the sooner they hear of any timely leads, the better.
Anyone who knows who the perpetrator might be or who has seen the man or the van should call the sheriff’s department at 320-968-7201 or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 800-255-1301 or by texting TRITIP to 274637.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.