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Purdue students on edge after reported sexual assault

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) – Purdue University Police are searching for the man they say sexually assaulted a student over the weekend.

The Purdue Police Chief was not available to answer any questions about the case Monday evening because it’s still an ongoing investigation.

However, news that a possible suspect is still out there isn’t sitting well with students on campus.

It was another busy Monday on campus for students at Purdue University, but students are still thinking about what happened late Saturday night.

“It’s very scary to be outside at night,” said freshman Abby McKeand. “I know I’m nervous to be alone. I’ve been told not to go out by myself anymore.”

The reported assault happened near Fourth and Waldron Street. Officers blocked off the area near Wiley Dining Court as they search for any possible clues and evidence.

Police don’t have much to work with, but described the attacker as a “white male” who was last seen wearing a black hoodie.

The university issued a text and email alert to students shortly after the reported assault. A freshman student tells 24-Hour News 8 that the alert led to at least one tip for authorities.

“I came back the next day and I was talking to some of the girls from my hall because we have a window that you could see the dining court from our window,” said McKeand. “They said they saw a guy who matched the description with the hat on and things they said in the text, so they talked to our RA and she called the cops.”

This reported sexual assault comes on the heels of another case in less than a week.

Police arrested James Rendon, 20, on preliminary charges of rape and possession of drugs. Purdue Police Chief John Cox issued a statement Monday evening saying in part, “Purdue remains a safe campus environment, but to help ensure the safety of our fellow community members, I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to be vigilant – if you see something, say something.”

Meanwhile, students on campus say its a little nerve wrecking knowing that a possible suspect is still out there. After what happened, some students plan to take extra safety precautions.

“I don’t have any night classes. I try not to walk alone at night especially on the weekends,” said freshman Ruth Mussmann. “People tend to go out to drink and you never know what’s going to happen.”

Police say if you hear or see anything suspicious call them right away.

The university also offers a number of different safety resources for students. 24-Hour News 8 learned there are more than 300 emergency call boxes throughout campus.

The university also has a program called “Safe Walk” for students. If a student is walking home from the library late at night or doesn’t feel safe walking alone, they can call (765) 494-7233. A trained student or staff will escort the student.

For more information on the service, click here.

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