A 26-year-old man allegedly raped and beat a University of Wisconsin at Madison student and then posed as an innocent bystander after the attack, cops said.
Brandon Thompson, 26, was busted Wednesday for sexual assault, reckless injury, and strangulation in connection with the “horrific” assault that left a young woman clinging to life, according to Madison police.
“This case will not be complete until this cowardly attacker receives the justice he deserves,” Chief Shon Barnes said at a press conference.
Thompson was arrested three days after allegedly pouncing on the student as she walked through the college town’s commercial district around 3:30 a.m.
The suspect allegedly broke the woman’s jaw and left her with “life-threatening injuries” in a vicious sexual assault that police called a “top priority” for the department.
Thompson allegedly hung around the scene of the crime after brutalizing the young woman and spoke directly with an eyewitness who rushed to the victim after hearing a “commotion.”
“Thompson told this witness that he had ‘just found’ our survivor, pretending to be an innocent bystander,” Barnes said.
He refused to stick around, however, and jetted off in a black sedan before police could arrive.
Though police collected DNA and other physical evidence from the scene, community home surveillance footage led them directly to Thompson.
“As a result of this video, detectives were able to read a license plate that directly led to the identification of Brandon Thompson as the perpetrator of this assault,” said Paige Valenta, the department’s assistant chief of investigative services.
Police made the arrest early Wednesday while Thompson was seeking “medical treatment” for undisclosed injuries, though police could not say if they were related to the crime.
Thompson, who lives in Madison, does not have any prior convictions. It was not clear whether he was involved in any previous violent incidents.
Officials do not believe there is any connection between Thompson and his victim — he likely saw her walking through the college town and decided to attack.
Another local resident claimed she had been “snatched” off the street and dragged between two houses by a stranger in the hours before the attack.
“I think it is one of the most frightening things about it,” Barnes said.
The victim, who is in her 20s, was expected to survive her injuries. She was initially classified as being in critical condition.
The stranger assault ignited an intense police investigation, with police expanding patrols in the area in its wake.
Campus police urged students to make use of university safety tools available to them and to travel in groups, especially at night.
University police chief Kristen Roman reminded the community that the terrifying assault is “extremely rare” for the Midwestern city.
“But when they do occur, we come together in anger, in sadness, sometimes in fear, but always in support,” Roman said.
“The violence perpetrated against this young woman Sunday morning was horrific and will not be tolerated. This is not Madison. This is not UW Madison.”
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