LINCOLN, Neb. — Investigators looking into an attack against an openly lesbian woman this past weekend are not ruling out the possibility that the alleged hate crime may have been a hoax.
Lincoln Police spokesperson, officer Katie Flood, told media organizations that detectives have no evidence that indicates that the attack on the 33 year old woman was staged, however, police said they are also unable to identify any suspects in the case.
“We’re just investigating all aspects, including the possibility that it’s a false report,” Flood said. “It’s something we do every day — we look at that possibility with all crimes, whether it’s a robbery or a hit and run.”
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Nebraska LGBTQ equality rights advocates have dubbed the victim “Rainbow Jane.”
The victim, whose name has not been released, told officers that she had been attacked earlier that morning by three masked men who barged into her house, bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties, cut her all over her body and carved homophobic slurs into her skin before dumping gasoline on her floor and lighting it with a match.
A source to LGBTQ Nation said Sunday that “the words ‘cunt,’ ‘fag’ and ‘dyke’ were carved onto her face and body, and that the assailants tried to set her house on fire.”
A community activist in Omaha, who is assisting in efforts to hold a vigil in that city for the victim, told the Omaha World-Herald, “We respect Rainbow Jane’s right to privacy. We’re also respecting the police’s job to look at every angle they need to in this investigation.”
When contacted by LGBTQ Nation on Wednesday, Tyler Richard, president of Outlinc, a Lincoln-based LGBT advocacy group, refused to comment or elaborate further than the following statement:
“Here’s what I know,” said Richard, “In Lincoln we have a very qualified and sensitive law enforcement. They have a history of support for the community and a willingness to bring in additional law enforcement if necessary. They will conduct the investigation in a way that gets to the truth.”
Article continues belowBeth Rigatuso, the president of Heartland Pride, said, “This is just me personally, as an individual, but I do not believe this is a hoax. From what I know of this person, I just don’t see that happening.”
Rigatuso added that the victim has been active in Lincoln’s pride organization.
The FBI field office in Omaha confirmed that an agent met with Lincoln police officials to assist in the ongoing investigation. Flood said that her department accepted an offer of assistance from the federal agency Tuesday.
Flood also confirmed that detectives re-interviewed the alleged victim Tuesday, and forensic investigators and crime scene technicians returned to the home Wednesday to look for evidence that might have been missed.
“We met with the victim again yesterday. She wasn’t able to provide any descriptions, other than three men, maybe white, wearing masks,” Flood said. “We don’t have many leads.”
Flood added that there is no evidence, one way or another, whether the woman’s injuries could have been self-inflicted.