Sheriff's deputies will help security officers patrol Saddleback College's sprawling 200-acre Mission Viejo campus in the aftermath of the weekend stabbing death of a student, officials said Monday.
One or two squad cars will be assigned to patrol the campus along with the school's 24-hour security force, which at night normally consists of two officers, Sheriff's Sgt. Linda Calligan said.
Sheriff's spokesman Lt. William Miller said the increased patrols may help deter crime and ease the fears of students and campus administrators following the stabbing late Saturday of Robbin Brandley, 23, a communications and fine arts major from Laguna Beach.
Cause of Fear
Brandley was killed after she left a campus jazz concert and reception sometime after 10:30 p.m. Saturday, sheriff's investigators said. Her body was found by her car in a small parking lot next to the campus perimeter road. She had been stabbed several times in the upper body. Investigators said there were no signs of a struggle or evidence of robbery or sexual assault.
"It's the kind of incident that creates a lot of concern and fear," Miller said. "We want to minimize that."
Miller said the Sheriff's Department intends to coordinate stepped-up patrols with campus police at the south Orange County campus "until this thing is taken care of."
Investigators have been interviewing the victim's friends and others on campus who may have seen anything unusual between 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., Miller said.
News of the death took many students and faculty members by surprise.
Disc jockey Michael Coates of Saddleback's radio station KSBR, who said he knew Brandley well, had an emotionally difficult time broadcasting news of her death Sunday afternoon and Monday.
"It was tough," he said. "I didn't use the words 'was stabbed.' I just couldn't."
Second Attack in Year
The attack was the second in less than a year at Saddleback. In April, a 25-year-old student was abducted from another campus parking lot by two men in a Volkswagen van who beat her over the head, stripped her, then dumped her naked about six hours later on a freeway off-ramp.
Situated high atop a hill with heavy vegetation, winding drives and clustered buildings, the campus presents a myriad of security problems, according to security officers and school officials.
"You need a helicopter to get up high to patrol that place," one security official said.
At comparatively flat campuses, such as the one at Rancho Santiago College in Santa Ana, campus security officers enjoy good field visibility except on outer parking lot edges, said Charles Conaway, Rancho Santiago's campus security director.
A memorial service for Brandley is being arranged for Wednesday.