Police released a surveillance image of the suspect before locating him Tuesday afternoon. (Credit: Carrollton Police Department)

Suspect in custody after kidnapping, sexual assault at knife-point

After a University of West Georgia student was kidnapped and sexually assaulted at knife-point Tuesday, Atlanta police say a suspect is in custody.

But officials aren’t releasing his name or the charges, Atlanta police spokeswoman Officer Lisa Bender said. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not publish the names of sexual assault victims.

The woman was kidnapped at knife-point from a Kroger grocery store in Carroll County, Atlanta police Capt. Brian Schiffbauer said.

“The suspect forced the victim into her vehicle by knife,” Schiffbauer said, adding that she was then taken from Carrollton to Atlanta.

Officers surround an apartment to search for a kidnapper who sexually assaulted a woman, Atlanta police said. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

“It appears she was sexually assaulted at a location off Hamilton E. Holmes Drive in Northwest Atlanta,” Bender said.

Then, she was taken to the Ansley North Cooperative apartments at 1705 Monroe Drive, where she was able to contact her friends and family, Bender said.

During the incident, the woman was sending text messages to family members and pinging them with cellphone location pins, Schiffbauer said. Her family members called 911.

Officers surrounded the apartments to search for the kidnapper and found the suspect and victim in the parking lot, Bender said. 

The man, who tried to get away after officers spotted him, crashed into some vehicles, including a patrol car, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said.

“He got out of the car, jumped a fence and got away,” Campos said.

Byron Barnes, a resident at Ansley North, said he heard a loud noise and went to his kitchen, where he saw Atlanta police escorting a crying woman.

He said he saw a Honda Accord with doors open and other police officers with flashlights. The Honda Accord was used in the kidnapping, police said, and officials later had it towed from the scene.

Barnes didn’t learn of the kidnapping until he watched the morning news. But it was clear that police were searching for someone, he said.

Officers caught the suspect this afternoon, asleep behind a business on Ponce de Leon Avenue near Freedom Parkway, Campos said.

The victim is at Grady Memorial Hospital, police said.

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