'Be aware of your surroundings': Officials warn residents after woman abducted, raped in DeLand

DELAND, Fla. — The DeLand Police Department is investigating after a woman said she was abducted and raped Thursday night.

At 8:06 p.m., police said a woman called 911 after she was dragged into a car, taken to a secluded area and raped.

Officers said the 31-year-old woman told them that, while she had been walking near Parsons and Beresford avenues, a man forced her into a black Ford Mustang.


The woman was found near New Hampshire and Garfield avenues, police said.

"I was just on my way home and she flagged me down. She's crying and she said something about a guy took her back in these woods and raped her," a witness said in a 911 call.

Police believe the man is targeting women in the area and officials are warning people to be careful.

Investigators said after questioning people about what happened, it became clear that the man has approached women in the area before.

"He may be targeting other women in the area. Some other women in the area said, 'Yeah, we've been approached by this person,'" said Chris Graham, with DeLand police.

The woman described the attacker as a tall, slim Hispanic man with black hair and scruffy facial hair, and with a thick accent.

"Just be aware of your surroundings, and if you see someone matching that description and the black Mustang, just definitely call DeLand police," Graham said.

Investigators said they do know where the woman was taken and raped, but they are not releasing the location at this time.

Police said the area where the woman was abducted is known for drug activity and prostitution, but the woman is not a prostitute.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to contact Detective Ramkissoon at 386-626-7426.

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