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Authorities seek Trinity rape suspect

With a search helicopter overhead, sheriff's deputies on foot and in patrol cars combed the streets here looking for a rape suspect Friday afternoon.

About 1:45 p.m., a woman was raped in her home in Trinity, apparently by a stranger, Pasco Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.

An ambulance took the victim, whom Doll did not name, to a local hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

A K-9 unit searched nearby streets but was unable to locate the suspect. "The track came up empty so the person may have gotten into a car," Doll said.

Deputies asked neighbors to be on the lookout for the suspect, described as an Hispanic man about 20 years old, 5 feet 10 and 220 pounds, with a heavy build and dark hair. He was thought to be wearing a dark shirt and jeans.

In the hours that followed, some neighbors peeked their heads from doors. Others walked cautiously up to the scene, past neatly manicured lawns and more than $200,000 houses, to where crime scene tape circled the home where the attack occurred.

"It's amazing," said one man who lives nearby. He had noticed the sheriff's helicopter while waiting for his son to arrive on the school bus.

"It's such a quiet neighborhood and so many people are home here during the day," he said. "You wouldn't think someone could be so bold as to try to get away with something like that."

The Times is withholding the man's name and the names of other neighbors to protect the identity of the victim.

Another neighbor had spent much of the morning and early afternoon working in her back yard, which adjoins the victim's, but said she didn't see or hear anything unusual.

"She (the victim) has two big dogs that nobody would've gotten past," the woman said. "So that doesn't make sense _ unless she put them in a room to answer the door."

Deputies asked her if any solicitors had come to her door recently. She told them none had.

"Makes you feel a little uneasy," she said. "We really thought it was a safe neighborhood. It sits way back, we call it our little bit of country in the city."

Another nearby neighbor said he has lived there for 10 years with his wife and two daughters.

"It's scary," he said. "My wife's home alone all day."

A woman whose house faces the victim's said she didn't know the victim or her family well but would say hello to them in passing.

"They're very nice people," she said. "They just kept to themselves."

Serious crime in her neighbor

hood is unheard of, the neighbor said. "The worst thing we have are car stereos that are too loud."

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jim Sessa toll-free at 1-800-854-2862.

_ Steve Thompson covers crime in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. His e-mail address is sthompsonsptimes.com.

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