NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News Police have connected the same man to two separate sexual assaults in the city and are asking for any additional victims to come forward.
Holly McPherson with the Newport News Police Department said the first assault occurred on Jan. 1 behind the Newmarket South Shopping Center around 10:30 p.m. The victim told police she had been speaking with a man on the internet and was supposed to go with him to his home.
When he picked her up, instead of taking the victim to his home, he stopped the vehicle behind a business and raped her, McPherson said. He drove away and left the victim in the parking lot.
WAVY.com went out to Newmarket South Shopping Center, of which the Hampton-Newport News line runs right through. Several of the businesses on the Newport News side were closed down. However, shoppers still had a strong reaction to the case.
“Primarily, most business close around eight around here,” said Gail Robertson, who frequents the shopping center for errands. “And the only thing that’s really open during those hours is the grocery store.”
The second assault occurred Jan. 19 in the area of the Midtown Community Center located at 570 McLawhorne Dr. The victim told police she had been speaking with the man on the internet and he wanted her to go out with him. When the victim told him she was sick, the suspect offered to take her to get medicine.
McPherson said the man picked the victim up and took her to a home to get cold medicine, but then drove to the community center, where he took her cell phone and sexually assaulted her. Just like in the first incident, the suspect drove away and left the victim in the parking lot.
Further investigation linked the two crimes to the same suspect, who police identified as Lee Michael McMurray, 26, of Hampton. McMurray was arrested at his home Friday and was charged with rape, sodomy, robbery and two counts of abduction.
WAVY.com went to McMurray’s neighborhood. Neighbors said they didn’t know McMurray, nor did they see him get arrested. However, they were disturbed by the case and to learn he lived nearby.
“If he was here, who else is here doing that?” said Dante Durant, a neighbor. “And if there is somebody here doing that, how would we be informed?”
Police are urging anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault with similar circumstances to call police at 757-928-4239.
Police have not released McMurray’s picture due to the ongoing investigation.