LANCASTER – A 19-year-old female was allegedly kidnapped Monday afternoon near the Antelope Valley College campus and taken to an abandoned house where she was sexually assaulted, authorities said. Less than two hours after the incident, 35-year-old Lancaster resident James Smith was taken into custody. Smith is a “person of interest” in three other sexual assaults that occurred in the Antelope Valley dating back to 2012, according to a press release from the LASD Special Victim’s Bureau. Read it below:
On Monday, June 16, 2014, at approximately 2 p.m., detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau began investigating the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 19 year-old female.
The victim was walking on 33rd Street West in the City of Lancaster when the suspect approached her from behind and forced her into his vehicle.
The suspect then took the victim to an abandoned house in the 43000 Block of 33rd Street West in Lancaster, where he sexually assaulted her. Once he completed his assault, the suspect entered his vehicle and fled the location.
The victim called Lancaster Station to report the assault.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., Lancaster Station patrol deputies found the suspect inside his vehicle, while parked in the 1000 block of West Avenue H-12 in Lancaster. The suspect was taken into custody at that time.
The suspect is currently in custody at the Los Angeles County Jail and being held in lieu of one million dollars bail.
The suspect is a person of interest in three other sexual assaults that occurred in the Antelope Valley, dating back to 2012.
Anyone with information regarding these assaults is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-5273.
The victim is an Antelope Valley College student, “but other than that, there really is no relationship to the college at all,” said Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau. AVC officials released a statement Tuesday morning regarding the incident.
“On Monday, June 16, 2014 an incident occurred regarding an adult female who was confronted by an unknown male adult while walking near 33rd Street West and Ave K in Lancaster… The Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau has advised the A.V. College Campus Sheriff’s Office that the incident did not occur on campus and the suspect is in custody,” the statement reads.
UPDATED 6/17 @ 3:15 pm: SVU detectives have explained how kidnap/sexual assault suspect James Smith is linked to the other sexual assaults in the Antelope Valley. Sexual assaults were reported in Lancaster in mid-May and on June 2, 2014, where the suspect was driving a green Buick, according to Sgt. Brian Hudson. “Also, there’s some biological evidence that linked him to a case [sexual assault] that occurred in Palmdale in 2012,” Hudson added.