Uber driver now charged with rape, kidnapping after previous attempted abduction charge
Police arrested a Holts Summit Uber driver this week in connection with the kidnapping and rape of a woman at a Columbia bar in November.
This was the second case during the past five months involving 47-year-old Anthony Todd Rowell and an attack on a woman.
This week’s kidnapping and rape charges against Rowell were in addition to the charges Rowell faces from January in connection to an attempted abduction.
The victim said she was drinking with friends at Harpo’s bar in Columbia and has no memory of leaving the bar on the night of November 16. The victim said her next memory was Rowell threatening her with a stun gun inside his mini-van. The victim said Rowell and another man drove her to another location where bad things happened to her. Police arrested Rowell on Wednesday after Missouri Highway Patrol investigators found a long strand of the victim’s hair on a stun gun in Rowell’s home. College student Chandler Short said this type of crime makes her more cautious at Columbia bars.
Short said, “You always think the places that you are at are safe and nothing bad is going to happen to you. It’s really scary to see that something like that happened to them in a place that I was just at a couple of days ago.”
Sexual assault counselors at Columbia’s True North women’s shelter said the buddy system was the best protection at a nightclub.
True North Executive Director Elizabeth Herrera said, “If somebody drugs you, you are not under the knowledge that’s happening to you. Going out in groups is important as a safety measure.”
In addition to this week’s kidnapping and rape charges, police arrested Rowell for an attempted abduction of a woman walking on Columbia’s Greenwood Avenue in January. The victim said Rowell pulled out a significant amount of her hair before she ran to safety.
Boone County court officials said Rowell’s case was court-sealed and a probable cause statement was not available to the public at this time.