Three masked men broke into a woman’s house in Lincoln, Nebraska early Sunday morning, bound her with zip ties, carved the word “dyke” into her stomach, cut her all over her body, and set her house on fire with gasoline in an apparent hate crime. They also stay painted epithets and slurs on the walls of her basement (image, top.) After her attackers left, the unidentified woman managed to escape and crawl to a neighbor’s house. Hundreds of residents attended a vigil Sunday evening — an amazing turnout in such a short time. Lincoln, home to the University of Nebraska, has a population of 258,379.
“Lincoln police declined to say whether the incident was being investigated as a hate crime,” the Omaha World-Herald reports, quoting Police Capt. Jim Davidsaver saying, “I can’t comment on any possible suspect motive at this point.”
The woman’s friends believe the incident was a hate crime because of her sexual orientation, and they arranged a candlelight vigil at the State Capitol on Sunday night that drew more than 500 people.
Outlinc, a Lincoln gay-rights organization, said in a statement Sunday evening that board members have confidence in the police investigation.
“Many in our community are understandably experiencing a great deal of sadness, anger and confusion,” Outlinc President Tyler Richard said in the statement. “We look to our entire community to pull together in this difficult time.”
The woman called police around 4 a.m. Sunday, saying men wearing black ski masks had broken into her home, according to Lincoln police.
She told police the men assaulted her — binding her hands and carving words into her skin with a knife — and then set fire to the house.
Davidsaver said the victim’s description of the suspects was limited because of the masks.
When police arrived, the house was still on fire, the captain said. He said it caused about $200 in damage.
Davidsaver would not say what words the men carved into the woman’s skin. “We need to maintain the integrity of the case,” he said.
But Erin Thompson of Lincoln, who described herself as the victim’s best friend, said she got a call from her friend about 6:30 Sunday morning. The friend asked Thompson to pick her up from the hospital.
“They carved on me,” Thompson said her friend tearfully told her.
Thompson said three epithets, including the word “dyke,” were carved on the woman’s arms and stomach.
The woman, who is in her 30s, walked, naked and bound, to a neighbor’s house to get help, Thompson said.
“The victim has asked that she remain anonymous,” said Karen Bratton-Cranford, president of Star City Pride. “We respect that. We respect her right to tell her story when she is ready.”
Thompson said the victim is openly lesbian.
She read a statement on behalf of the victim, who thanked those attending the vigil, her neighbor for summoning help, the police and fire department for their quick response, and the paramedics, nurses and doctors who helped her at BryanLGH Medical Center West in Lincoln, as well as an advocate from Voices of Hope who sat with her.
Thompson said she and her friend “always get harassed here and there.” She said they have only suspicions about the possible identities of the assailants.
Hat tip: Towleroad
Image via Facebook
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