Police/Courts / University

CMU police chief: Abduction victim ‘did everything absolutely right’

The surveillance footage of the Jan. 16 abduction of a Grand Rapids senior outside of the Student Activity Center shows that the incident occurred in Lot 62 West.

The victim was abducted at gunpoint by Eric Lee Ramsey, 30, just north of the ticket booth, about 10 spaces from E. Campus Drive, Central Michigan University Police Department Detective Michael Sienkiewicz said. Sienkiewicz said there were other people present in the area at the time of the incident.

Although the tapes showed no sign of a struggle, Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley said the victim did the only logical thing in a situation involving a weapon.

“I believe the victim did everything absolutely right,” Yeagley said. “Because when someone holds a gun to your head, you follow instructions.”

Sexual Aggression Services Director Stephen Thompson said the abduction would normally never occur in that situation because of the crowd present in the area. It was particularly busy as a women’s basketball game had concluded about half an hour before the incident reportedly happened.

According to a biography found on CMU’s website, Thompson has conducted countless interviews with convicted rapists, psychologists and doctors, as well as thousands of survivors and has trained and worked beside police officers throughout the country.

“You have to realize how incredibly unique that crime was,” Thompson said. “I work with profiling away from here, and for him to target when there are people around like that is extremely rare.”

Yeagley said the parking arrangement at the SAC did not make a difference in the abduction.

“Parking on this campus is limited and so we make best use of what’s available,” Yeagley said. “Our parking setup had no impact on this event occurring; this guy was evil and looking for an opportunity.”

The victim’s car was parked further away from the entrance of the SAC, but with the size of the university, there are certain restrictions the police try to counteract with additional staff and collaboration with the sponsors of the events.

“We always want to get people as close to the event as we can,” Yeagley said. “And we have staff assigned to those areas and we work together with the sponsor of those events to have security.”

Yeagley said there are more than 500 cameras scattered around campus, with several surveying the SAC. There are cameras in the entryway that cover portions of the parking lot and different locations within the SAC, he said.

CMU police have been in contact with the victim as well as her family for additional support.

One Comment

  1. Michael Nelson says:

    While the abducted student no doubt acted with incredible courage when she leapt from her vehicle and ran to a nearby home for help, likely saving her life, I disagree with Mr. Yeagley that she did “everything absolutely right.” I believe that if the student had met her abductor with resistance at the point of her abduction, the abductor would have abandoned or limited his intentions. By telling the student to lead him to her vehicle and then get into the vehicle with him, it was apparent his intentions were more than a robbery. Mr. Yeagley’s comments that “when someone holds a gun to your head, you follow instructions,” are precisely the type of dialogue that make women feel helpless when violently confronted. Sexual predators operate from a position of power. Following directions and not resisting allow the abductor to maintain his position of power. If the student, or any women in such a situation, were to disrupt that power and put the abductor in a position he was not comfortable with during the initial attack, it would create a greater possibility of escape than being passive and allowing the abductor to maintain his position. When the intentions of a violent person appear to be a crime against an individual and not his or her property, resistance is generally the best practice. I would encourage all women, if they are ever faced with a similar situation, to yell, scream, and fight as hard as they can. Do not allow any person to take you somewhere where they have control.

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