ROGERSVILLE - The Hawkins County Sheriff's Office is hoping someone will recognize a composite sketch of a man suspected of committing rape while impersonating a police officer last week.
The sketch was generated using physical descriptions provided Friday by the 22-year-old Hawkins County woman who told police she was raped at gunpoint the night of Jan. 23 after the assailant stopped her in what looked like an unmarked police car.
Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian said Tuesday the victim was still too upset to offer a good description until last Friday. The initial sketch was taken by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to be refined and was returned to the sheriff's department Tuesday.
With only a vague car description to release to the public, the sheriff's department has received about 25 tips. Christian said that with the new suspect description and composite sketch, he's hoping someone will recognize the man or be able to connect the face to the car description.
"We're still looking for anybody who has any information about this," Christian said. "We're receiving a lot of calls - a lot of good citizens are calling in reporting information to us, and we've received several license plate numbers. Obviously as the information comes in we check it out.
"But we're still trying to find a witness who saw the cars on the side of the road the night of the incident and can tell us exactly where it was."
On Tuesday, Christian released updated suspect description information to go with the new sketch. The suspect is described as a white male in his late 20s to early 30s, standing between 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 5 inches tall, and weighing 260 to 300 pounds.
He was wearing a dark toboggan the night of the attack, but the victim said she believes his hair was very short and dark colored.
He was driving a white late-model Ford Crown Victoria, probably an old police cruiser, with a blue revolving light on the dash and a spotlight on the driver's side door.
The suspect is also armed with an unknown caliber blue steel semiautomatic pistol.
The victim told investigators she was traveling westbound on Highway 11-W last Tuesday night just west of Rogersville around 11:30 p.m. when she was stopped by what she thought to be an unmarked police cruiser with an activated blue dash light.
The woman told police she stopped on 11-W, probably near the Marble Hall Road intersection.
The assailant then forced her out of the car at gunpoint, took her to the side of the highway, tore her clothing and raped her, according to reports. After the assailant drove away from the scene, the woman went to the Lakeside Market to seek help.
Anyone who thinks they recognize the man in the sketch or has any information about this crime is asked to contact the HCSO at 272-4848.
Christian is still advising caution for any motorist who is uncertain that they're being pulled over by a legitimate police officer. He said the motorist should slow down, activate the right turn signal, and proceed to a well-lit or public location before stopping.