By James Kelley
James Allen Selby|
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday August 29, 2002
Number of officers searching for accused rapist James Allen Selby reduced as police recieve fewer leads on his whereabouts
Although police have scaled down the search for suspected serial rapist James Allen Selby, police warn he may he may still be in the Tucson area.
The number of TPD officers searching for Selby has dropped from 25 to 10.
"We don't have as many detectives and officers on it 24-seven as we did," said Kathy Wendling Tucson Police Department Public Information Officer. "We are still responding to calls and sightings," she said.
The number of tips and sightings has also fallen recently, giving police fewer leads to follow, Wendling said.
The Tucson Police Department charged the 35-year-old Selby with attempted murder, three counts of sexual assault, one count of aggravated assault and one count of kidnapping in connection with four campus area assaults beginning last October. Selby was charged on Aug. 16, the day of his last confirmed sighting in Tucson.
"We have no reason to believe he has left, no other town has spotted him," Wendling said. "We are still investigating as if he is in town," she said.
Selby has not been identified as a suspect in the University of Arizona Police Department's case at this time, said UAPD Commander Brian Seastone.
Selby is a suspect in a number of sexual assaults nearby campus, but not on the UA campus.
Selby, who was featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted," is the subject of multi-state manhunt where he is suspected to be responsible for 15 sex crimes over the past four years, in San Diego, Nevada and Oklahoma due to DNA evidence.
"The decision has no effect on us, regardless of how many detectives are on the case, our communications with TPD doesn't stop," said Seastone, who said he cannot comment on how many UAPD officers are currently on the case.
Selby is 5-foot-9 inches tall, 180 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes and has a tattoo of skull with a cowboy hat and handkerchief tattoo on his upper right arm. He is believed to be driving a 1985 tan Chrysler New Yorker and is considered very dangerous.
"I really haven't generally felt unsafe on campus because I don't go out alone at night," said Helena Sokol, an economics senior. "I think because of the manhunt, he is attempting to lay low," she said.
Irene Anderson, director of the Oasis Center for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, doesn't know if students should feel safer or less safe on campus because of the decision to reduce the number of officers in the investigation.
"It is very difficult to measure the concern of people on campus, but there certainly has been a lot of media coverage on this case," Anderson said.
The uncertainty surrounding the Selby case has caused anxiety with some on campus.
"It probably makes me feel less safe. It would be nice to know they caught these guys," said Sarah Epperson, a political science freshman.
To ensure safety, Seastone and Anderson recommend using SafeRide, walking in pairs, being mindful of your surroundings during both day time and night time, communicating with friends about your location, making plans when going out and using a buddy system.
SafeRide is a safety escort service for students, who can call 621-SAFE from 6:45 p.m. to 12:55 a.m. for a ride. The service provides free transportation within the boundaries of East Waverly Street, East Broadway Boulevard, North Tucson Boulevard and North Fourth Avenue.
If you have information regarding the suspect, you can call the Tucson Police Department tip-line at 791-4939, or 88-CRIME. Those who come in contact with him should call 911.