Staff Writer Charlotte Observer
October 12, 2004
Six men were in custody Monday, charged with gang raping a 37-year-old woman visiting a Huntersville home over the weekend. But Huntersville police are still looking for a seventh man. The woman, whom police did not identify, visited a trailer home in the 11000 block of Cimmaron Road on the southwestern edge of Huntersville around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night, said Huntersville police Lt. Ken Richardson. She was a friend of one of the men who lived there, off McCoy Road, Richardson said. The friend and six other men held the woman at the home for at least six hours and repeatedly raped her, Richardson said. The next morning she called police around 11:30 a.m. and went to Lake Norman Regional Medical Center to be treated for physical injuries.Such rapes with multiple attackers are nearly unheard of in the town of about 32,300 people, Richardson said. Since joining the department six years ago, the lieutenant said, he hasn't seen a rape case with so many suspects -- or so much evidence. But rape has been on the rise in Mecklenburg County this year. In the first half of 2004, the number of rapes reported to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police increased 11 percent from the same period in 2003. It's unclear, though, how many of the 156 reported rapes were gang rapes, a term for rapes with more than one suspect. "It's not the victim's fault," Richardson said. "I believe people should be able to go where they want to go and be safe." Huntersville police visited the home Sunday afternoon to collect evidence and found the men were in the country illegally. It's unclear what country they are from, police said. Investigators called immigration officials who detained the men while Huntersville police continued their investigation. The woman identified five of the men, Richardson said, and the sixth offered a statement to police. They are still trying to identify and locate a seventh man who raped her, police said. On Monday afternoon, police charged each of the six men with first degree forcible rape, first degree sexual offense and first degree kidnapping, Richardson said. The men charged are Blas Ceron Santiago, 27; Rafael Ceron Santiago, 23; Alfredo Munoz Perez, 26; and Antonio Islas Lucio, 24. All lived at the trailer. Also charged are Eladio Castillo Castillo, 28, who lives in Cornelius; and Alejandro Morales Suarez, 25, who lives elsewhere in Huntersville, police said.