Passer-by helps catch alleged rapist

By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writerDecember 28, 2010 

Abraham Toure could have stayed an extra 30 minutes with his friends Sunday night instead of setting out for home.

He could have asked for a ride instead of walking past Claybell Park in south Richland.

Sitting in his Richland home Monday, the 20-year-old listed at least seven choices that led him to the park.

But because he chose to leave when he did and because he chose to walk, John Ayala Magana is in the Benton County jail today accused of second-degree rape.

If Toure had done things differently, "I don't think things would have turned out well," he said.

He was walking past the park about 8:15 p.m. Sunday when he heard what sounded like a struggle in the brush.

"At first I thought it was kids pulling a prank," he said.

Then he heard a woman scream and the thud of fists.

He pulled out his cell phone and saw his battery was dying, so he quickly dialed 911 while running to nearby houses to ask someone else to call police.

He knocked on three doors before he found someone home. Toure hung up with police to conserve his battery while the homeowner called police and gave more information.

Toure said he ran back to the park and used his phone's light to illuminate the brush while he shouted and made noise. He couldn't see anyone, but he wanted to show that he knew someone was there.

He said he didn't want to believe a woman was being attacked, and when no one responded, he almost convinced himself maybe it was just a prank.

"I wasn't sure what was going on until I saw the girl running and I thought, 'Oh my god, it's really happening,' " Toure said.

When Richland police arrived, he showed officers where he had heard the noises and the girl came out wearing a jacket and carrying her pants, Toure said.

She had no shoes, so Toure picked her up and carried her to the nearby house where he had found someone home minutes earlier.

Her assailant had taken off in a car that Toure had seen parked nearby.

"I had a feeling it must belong to someone," he said.

Court documents said a police officer saw the car leave with its lights off. Police started a search and found the car skidded off the roadway at a nearby construction site with its engine running.

Magana was found nearby with his pants unbuttoned, his zipper down and scratches on his back that looked like defensive wounds from a fight, court documents said.

The victim reportedly told police that she and Magana were acquaintances, and she met him at a restaurant, where he asked her to sit in his car.

He then is alleged to have driven her to the park despite her objections.

Documents said the victim told police that once at the park, Magana took some cocaine and asked her to expose herself. She got out of the car and tried to walk away, but Magana allegedly grabbed her from behind and dragged her into a Russian olive thicket, where he removed her clothes and forced her to perform a sex act.

Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb said the victim had been punched and had scratches from Russian olive thorns.

Court documents said police found impressions in the dirt that indicated a violent struggle had taken place and found some of the victim's clothing.

Magana was arrested Sunday night, but charges had not been filed by Monday afternoon.

Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor said he would file second-degree rape charges today, and Magana likely would appear in court Thursday.

Toure said although some people have described his actions as courageous and heroic, he believes anyone would have done the same.

"That's just normal human behavior," he said. "I was thinking I could only imagine how scared this girl must be. I was just thinking, 'What can I do to help her?' "

w Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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