Detectives are warning women not to walk alone, especially at night, after a Brandon woman was raped as she was out for a walk earlier this week.
The kidnapping and rape happened Tuesday night, Oct. 4, at approximately 8 p.m. as the victim was walking along Delaney Creek Drive, just west of Falkenburg Road.
The 34-year-old woman was grabbed from behind and forced into a wooded area by the suspect, Devarian M. Thomas, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Thomas, 23, reportedly then forced the woman into a nearby apartment complex, Circle at Crosstown, where he sexually battered her twice in a women's restroom near the pool. The suspect threatened to kill the woman if she told anyone, detectives said.
Crime scene investigators later processed the crime scene and were able to obtain physical evidence linking Thomas to this crime, according to the sheriff’s office.
“This was a very violent and disgusting attack,” said Detective Larry McKinnon. “It was also totally random, which is unusual because in most of these types of attacks the attacker has some kind of relationship to the victim.”
McKinnon urged women to exercise caution when out alone.
“We strongly encourage them not to walk alone," he said. "Always take a walking buddy. This attacker was able to pull the woman into the woods, and no one could see what was happening.”
Thomas is facing three counts of sexual battery, kidnapping and three counts relating to violation of his probation.
Thomas lives at 1909 Garden Bower Circle, less than a mile from where the attack occurred. He was sentenced to five years for robbery home invasion in Panama City in 2006, according to jail records.
Records show he was released in December 2010 and required to serve 15 years probation.