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Orange County

Suspect Sketches Released in Rapes

Crime: Investigators appeal for leads in canyon attack on four teens. Beaten boy remains in very serious condition.

July 06, 2001|MAI TRAN and JACK LEONARD | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Orange County sheriff's officials released sketches Thursday of two of the five men they believe gang-raped a pair of teenage girls and savagely beat their boyfriends, but investigators said they are still far from identifying any suspects in the case.

Detectives appealed for help from anyone who might have seen the men or their small white car--possibly a foreign model--in the area of Black Star Canyon, where the attack took place early Tuesday morning.

Authorities said the men drove into the rugged hills east of Orange around 1 a.m. and confronted and robbed the youngsters, who were there on a double date. The men kicked the boys in the head and beat them with a rock before repeatedly sexually assaulting the girls, ages 13 and 15, authorities said.

One of the injured boys, a 17-year-old, suffered a fractured skull and remained in very serious condition Thursday at a local hospital, officials said.

Meanwhile, detectives contacted gang investigators as far away as Riverside and San Diego counties, hoping that police elsewhere might have some leads on the identity of the assailants.

The victims described the men as in their late teens or early 20s--three with shaved heads and one with a distinctively flattened, possibly broken, nose.

Authorities acknowledged that the sketches are generic, adding that all they have to go on at this time is the partial descriptions provided by the victims.

"The leads are slim," said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. "There is physical evidence that's being processed that might help . . . but we're encouraging anyone with information to contact us."

The attack lasted for roughly an hour, authorities said. Before driving away, the men threatened to return and kill the girls if the pair went to police, Amormino said.

Left behind in the canyon, the boys dragged themselves to a main road and flagged motorists until one stopped and called authorities.

The driver immediately realized that at least one of the boys was seriously injured, according to a transcript of the 911 call released Thursday.

"This kid, 16-year-old kid, uh, waved me down. He looks beat up," the driver told a dispatcher. "He said that somebody beat him up and his friend, and raped their girls and they don't know where the girls are at."

Sheriff's officials said the men sexually assaulted the girls in the canyon and then drove them to a nearby quarry, where they raped them again. The girls were then driven to an isolated area and released.

Naked, the pair crawled through the brush, covering themselves with discarded rags and cardboard they found until they reached a road. They flagged down a passing ambulance, whose driver stopped and called police.

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