The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer a timeline of the recent sexual assaults in Isla Vista, provide an update on investigative steps, and re-share information from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).
On Monday, February 28, 2022, the Sheriff’s Office and UCSB Police received several reports of sexual assaults and possible kidnappings in the Isla Vista area. An indecent exposure was reported at approximately 5:05 p.m. and was followed in quick succession by similar incidents on the west side of Isla Vista. At 7:05 p.m., near Camino Del Sur and Sueno Road, the suspect approached a victim, fondled her breast while covering her mouth and then fled in a vehicle. At 8:30 p.m., UCSB Police received a separate report of an additional nonconsensual fondling that occurred in the vicinity of West Campus Family Housing. During the time span from the beginning of the calls and throughout the night, deputies searched the area for the suspect who had been described as a college-aged male with dark hair, associated with a tan colored 1990’s model Toyota Camry or possibly a 1990’s Honda. County Air Support and a Sheriff’s K9 unit responded to assist with the search, but they were unsuccessful in locating the suspect. The Sheriff’s Office received several reports of possible suspect sightings throughout Isla Vista and responded to the area of each of the calls to check, but again they did not locate the suspect.
On the morning of March 1, 2022, the Sheriff’s Office assigned these cases to detectives who have been following up on the case, while deputies in Isla Vista have continued to respond to each of the reported possible suspect sightings. Additionally, Sheriff’s Office personnel have fielded numerous calls from community members, concerned parents, and persons offering information to help identify the suspect. Online tips have been received and forwarded to detectives.
Also on March 1, 2022, the Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with UCSB Police, UCSB Care, STESA, and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Program offered a community safety and support event at the Isla Vista Community Center. This event offered a trauma-informed space for all effected, a forum to share updates and address questions of residents, and supportive individualized safety planning.
In the days to come, while detectives continue their investigation, the Sheriff’s Office and UCSB Police will maintain increased patrols in Isla Vista and on campus. The Sheriff’s Office will share updates on this case, including any arrests made, as soon as that information becomes available.
UCSB will have additional CSO staffing added to their escort service, and they will host the Annual Lighting and Safety Walk on Monday, March 7, 2022, starting at 5:30 p.m. on the west side of the UCSB Library near the Arbor. The UCSB Police Department is also planning to offer R.A.D. self-defense classes soon.
If you have information about the incident in Isla Vista that might assist in the investigation, please contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office at (805) 681-4100, or report crime information anonymously at www.sbsheriff.org/anonymoustips.html.
If you have information that might assist in the investigation, please contact the UCSB Police Department at (805) 893-3446, or report crime information anonymously at www.police.ucsb.edu/report-crime.
The UCSB Police Department offered the following safety tips:
- Perpetrators are responsible for sexual assault. Crime victims are never responsible for the behavior of perpetrators.
- If you start to feel concerns about a person or a situation, trust your instincts and try to remove yourself as quickly as possible from the potential threat.
- If you think someone is at risk of assault or abuse, you should consider it an emergency and act to support that person. You can call the police or ask for help from other people, intervene directly if safe, or create a distraction to help remove the potential victim from the situation.
- If you feel you are being followed, try to get the attention of people nearby, run/walk to a well-lit and/or more populated area, and call 911 to ask for help.
- UCPD shares these Safety Tips while recognizing that perpetrators, and not their victims or survivors, are solely responsible for their actions.
The UCSB Police Department’s CSO Safety Escort Program is a free service provided to members of the UCSB community as a safe alternative to walking alone at night. Call (805) 893-2000 to request a CSO escort. For more information: https://www.police.ucsb.edu/cso/cso-safety-escorts.