Brewster County sheriff acknowledges that teen's kidnapping, rape is possible hate crime

I’ve left another message for Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson this morning, and his secretary assures me that this time he’ll call me back. In the meantime, take a peak at this story from CBS 7 in Odessa, in which the sheriff for the first time acknowledges publicly that the brutal kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old man in Terlingua over the weekend may have been an anti-gay hate crime:

“He was allegedly knocked out, thrown into his own car, driven out to the desert where he was sexually assaulted and his car was lit on fire,” said Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson.

The victim was then taken to a house in Terlingua Ranch, where investigators say he was sexually assaulted again.

“He was able to find a break and escape and ran out in the desert with nothing but a pair of flip-flops on,” said Dodson.

An organization called Equality Texas says this has all the makings of a hate crime.

“Right now we haven’t determined the hate crime part of it — it is a possibility but until we’ve conducted full interviews with everybody, we’re holding off on all that,” Dodson continued.

—  John Wright

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