Police said an elderly woman was beaten and raped in her home in a quiet, established Greenwood neighborhood Friday morning, and police are hunting for her attacker.
The rape happened about 9:30 a.m. in the Valle Vista subdivision just off of Main Street, police said. The woman answered a knock at her door, and a man forced himself inside.
He used no weapon but beat her and raped her while threatening to kill her, police said.
When he left her home, he left behind what could become a crucial piece of evidence: his jacket. Police will have it tested for DNA to search for any matches, Greenwood police assistant chief Matt Fillenwarth said.
The woman, who is older than 70 years old, was being treated for her injuries at an area hospital.
Every detective Greenwood has is working on the case and would continue searching for the suspect throughout the weekend, Fillenwarth said.
The crime has rattled the established, older neighborhood and is extremely rare for Greenwood.
While police have not honed in on a suspect, Fillenwarth said the attacker could be a serial rapist.
“This type of serial crime is extremely rare,” Fillenwarth said. “Just like a serial murderer, or a serial rapist, the suspect is not known to the victim. It’s extremely rare.”
Investigators are not sure if the suspect had been watching the victim or if the attack was random.
“We just don’t know. We need to develop in on a focus. Who knows?” Fillenwarth said of the suspect. “People really need to be cautious. He could be some serial rapist out rolling around. Anything is a possibility at this point.”
“This case is wide open,” he said.
Detectives are canvasing the neighborhood, talking to the neighbors and will repeat their steps.
“Someone saw something,” Fillenwarth said.
Police have released a photo of the jacket the suspect left at the scene and hope that anyone who recognizes the jacket, the man’s description or saw someone suspicious in the area will call police.
Valle Vista resident Tom Metzler called 911 at 9:56 a.m. Friday to report that a resident in the subdivision had been raped. Police said about 30 minutes had passed between the attack and the call to police.
The woman had called Metzler and asked him to call 911 and help her, he said.
A stranger had come to the woman’s front door, and forced his way inside when she answered, police said.
The man repeatedly threatened her, saying she had to do what he said or he would kill her, Fillenwarth said.
He raped her and beat her, Fillenwarth said, but she fought back.
“She struggled with him, it’s not like she just cowered down,” Fillenwarth said. “She is very tough.”
The man, described as 5-foot-6 to 5-8 with small to medium build, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt, black athletic shoes and a black knit mask, was last scene walking southbound from the woman’s home.
He had tattoos on his lower legs and possibly a tattoo on his neck.
The attack happened while Metzler and other residents of the neighborhood were home.
“The most pathetic thing that bugs me the most is that I was just inside the garage,” Metzler said.
When she called Metzler, he called 911 and got in his car to search for the man but didn’t find anyone.
“I just never could have ever in my lifetime expected (this) in Valle Vistas,” Metzler said.
When the attacker left, he forgot to take his extra large black Jeffrey Bean jacket, police said. Police have collected it as evidence.
“We thought it was important to let the community know, and someone might recognize that jacket,” Fillenwarth said.
This is only the second case of a random, violent rape in Greenwood that Fillenwarth can recall in his more than 20 years on the police department.
In 2012, Shawn Corbally broke into a woman’s Greenwood apartment and repeatedly raped her at knifepoint for hours and threatened to kill her children, including a 1-year-old sleeping in bed with her.
He is serving a 165-year sentence.
“You always have to be cautious, even in an area like Greenwood, because we don’t have a wall around Greenwood,” Fillenwarth said. “We are next to the major metropolitan area of Indianapolis, and close to the interstate. Yes, we have good, law abiding people in the community, but those types of predators operate on opportunity.”
Valle Vista resident Birgit Kreck always keeps her front door locked, in case anyone knocks, and her two dogs usually bark to startle strangers away, she said.
Break-ins have occurred from time-to-time in the neighborhood, but never including physical or sexual assault, Kreck said.
Homeowners in the neighborhood have a meeting scheduled for next week to discuss safety in the neighborhood. The meeting was scheduled before the rape occurred Friday due to a higher frequency of break-ins, Kreck said.
If you saw someone suspicious near Valle Vista subdivision or nearby on Friday, or recognize the suspect’s description or his jacket, you are asked to contact the Greenwood Police Department tip line at 865-0300 or call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 262-TIPS.