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Arrest made after sex assault on ASU Tempe campus

Posted at 11:26 AM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 13:42:45-04

TEMPE, AZ — An arrest was made Friday morning in connection with a sexual assault earlier this month at Arizona State University.

ASU police chief Michael Thompson said Eric Bell was taken into custody around 8 a.m. at his Mesa home. According to Thompson, Bell has an extensive criminal history out of Ohio and his DNA was a match with DNA found at the crime scene in Tempe.

ASU police said the sexual assault happened on the morning of Oct. 17 near Packard Drive and Veterans Way.

Bell reportedly grabbed the victim from behind and held a metal knife-like object to her throat. The victim was then taken to an unknown location near the Packard parking structure where Bell is accused of sexually assaulting her, police said.

According to initial information from police, the suspect then pressed a gun-like object into the victim's back and left the area.

U.S. Marshals and Tempe police assisted ASU police in the investigation and in Bell's apprehension Friday morning.

ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson says he was proud of the collaborative efforts between various law enforcement agencies, to put Bell behind bars.

“Mr. Bell has an extensive criminal history out of the state of Ohio. We are currently conducting search warrants at his residence right now, and collecting any kind of weapons,” said Chief Thompson.

Thompson said neither Bell nor the victim are affiliated with ASU.

Lindsy Myers tells ABC15, when she was an undergrad at ASU, she would never walk alone. Now, as a graduate student, she says nothing has changed.

“I actually have pepper spray too just in case because it did get scary there for a while. And I have this like alarm thing where if you pull the keychain, you know, it's really loud and it sounds loud. There are little checkpoints on campus that have buttons where it'll alert someone,” said Meyers.

According to ASU’s crime stats reported to the federal government, in 2019 there were 23 rapes and 15 reported fondling incidents.

In 2020, those numbers went down to 17 rapes and 9 reports of fondling.

Bell is facing charges for sex crimes, kidnapping and assault.