MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It has been a decade since the brutal rape of a college student in Minneapolis.
The man who attacked Carrie Fringer in June 2005 was a stranger. Stranger rape is rare, accounting for about 15 percent of assaults, and they take top priority with police. Her case is still unsolved.READ MORE: Missing Person: You Houa Thao
Fringer shared her journey for the first time with WCCO and told how the attack altered her course in life.
“Ten years ago was the summer before my senior year, which is when I was raped by a stranger,” Fringer said.
She states it matter-of-factly. But it took intensive therapy and counseling for Fringer to get to this place.
In 2005, the carefree St. Olaf college student was home for the summer and went one Friday night to meet friends at a bar along St. Anthony Main.
“Got out of my car, was grabbed from behind at knife point, dragged into his car, raped and stabbed in the process,” Fringer said. “Biggest fear was he wasn’t going to let me go.”
He eventually did. Naked, blind-folded and badly hurt, she ran.
“I didn’t know where I was, and I just started running,” Fringer said.
Fringer ran toward Metal Matic Factory.
“When she seen me, she was crying,” John Reed told WCCO in 2005. “She said, ‘I’ve been raped.’ She had no shirt on, so I put my shirt on her. She said, ‘I’ve been stabbed,’ and I said, ‘Where?’ and she said, ‘My stomach and my neck.’ Then I saw the wounds.”
“It was a very horrific case,” Minneapolis Police Lt. Mike Sauro said. “Reviewing the case, it got our highest priority. The crime scene was approximately eight blocks long, because the suspect had thrown parts of her clothing out as he drove down the street
Fringer was taken to HCMC, where a nurse gave her a sexual assault exam.
“I didn’t feel safe until I got to the hospital,” Fringer said. “In every possible way you feel violated. I didn’t know how to make sense of what happened to me. I was thankful I was alive but didn’t really know how that happened.”READ MORE: WCCO Saturday Night Interview: Mike Kojonen Talks Finances For Mother's Day
The evidence collected included DNA from her attacker. It matched DNA in a similar case in Bloomington five-and-a-half months earlier. Fringer told police her attacker was Hispanic and spoke broken English.
“Because of his behavior, I know he would not stop committing crimes like that,” she said. “He wouldn’t just commit two and stop. So I surmise either he’s dead or he fled back to either Mexico or another country in South America where we don’t have access to other DNA profiles and stuff.”
Carrie realizes she may never know the name of her attacker. She found purpose on her own years ago.
“I had worked through the stages of PTSD and decided I want to do something more with my life, and so I thought about nursing and remembered the nurses that took care of me in the hospital,” Fringer said.
They made such an impression, Fringer went back to school. She later began work at HCMC, as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, a specialized nurse to help others confronted with a similar situation.
“I want to continue to increase awareness about this,” Fringer said. “It was a life changing event.”
Fringer said the hardest part for her was thinking she was going to die. She is still a nurse but has taken a temporary hiatus from her work as a sexual assault nurse, to get her doctorate in nursing.
There are several resources for victims. Here are a few:
Sexual Offense Services (SOS – Ramsey County)
Sexual Violence Center (SVC – Hennepin County)
Aurora Center (U of MN)
360 Communities (Dakota County)
Hope Center (Rice County)
Canvas Health (Washington County)
Alexandra House (Anoka County)