19-year-old kidnapped, sexually assaulted in possible hate crime in Texas' Big Bend area

A 19-year-old West Texas man was kidnapped and repeatedly sexually assaulted on Sunday in a possible hate crime that’s being compared to the 1998 murder of gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard.

The Big Bend Gazette, a monthly newspaper in Alpine, reports on its Web site that the victim was kidnapped by two men outside a bar in Terlingua, near the Texas-Mexico border and Big Bend National Park.

The victim was driven in his own vehicle to a remote location in south Brewster County, where the suspects sexually assaulted him and set his car on fire, according to The Big Bend Gazette. The victim was then taken to a private residence in the same area, where he was again sexually assaulted. The victim managed to escape from the home and ran 3 miles across the desert to a highway, where he was eventually found by a sheriff’s deputy at 1 a.m. Monday.

The victim is recovering, and the two suspects have been arrested, according to The Big Bend Gazette. Daniel Martinez, 46, is charged with sexual assault. Kristopher Buchanan, 27, is being held on outstanding warrants from other counties. Additional charges against both suspects are pending.

Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson didn’t return phone messages left by Dallas Voice on Wednesday.

John Waters, publisher of the Big Bend Gazette, said Wednesday that it’s unclear whether the attack was an anti-gay hate crime. But he said he contacted Equality Texas on Tuesday to get more information about anti-gay hate crimes in the wake of the incident.

Equality Texas political director Randall Terrell, who spoke with Waters, told Dallas Voice on Wednesday that although many of the facts aren’t yet known, “It sounds like Matthew Shepard all over again.”

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates on the case.

—  John Wright