UPDATE: Wednesday March 2nd at 5:45 p.m.:
Boonville Police say Lake St. Louis resident Todd Bryan Rehkop, 41, is the suicidal suspect connected to a sexual assault at a truck stop.
Columbia Police believe Rehkop could also be responsible for 2 other sexual assault cases within the past 24 hours.
A woman, 22, told authorities that a man with a handgun matching Rehkop TMs description ordered her into his pick-up truck in the Conley Road Hy-Vee Shopping Center parking lot and forced her to take off her clothes and perform a sexual act on him. Somehow the woman escaped and ran naked into the supermarket and got help. Earlier in the evening, a man fitting the Rehkop TMs description and carrying a handgun approached a woman, 57, in the Sam TMs Club parking lot, also on Conley Road. Authorities believe Rehkop left in his pick-up truck after the woman told him to go away.
Authorities say Rehkop left Columbia and tried to attack a woman at Boonville TMs Pilot Travel Center Truck Stop and Convenience Store.
A female employee told police that Rehkop tried to rape her while she was folding towels in a utility room near a shower area. The victim said Rehkop left her alone after the woman begged her attacker not to touch her. Before he left, Rehkop told the woman he was going to kill himself. Rehkop committed suicide after a brief standoff with a Lafayette County Sheriff TMs Deputy who spotted Rehkop TMs pick-up truck on Interstate 70. No one knows what Rehkop did between his Boonville encounter at midnight and his suicide in Lafayette county at 2 a.m.
Boonville Police Captain Don Smith said, Is there a victim between here and there? So far, we haven TMt been able to find out. No department has reported anything. Maybe, he was at the rest area or something.
Authorities said the Columbia businesses involved with the attacks provide a safe and secure environment. For example, Hy-Vee customers can request an employee escort to their car at any hour of the day or night.
Columbia Police Sgt. Jill Wieneke said, Hy-Vee even has signs posted saying that there TMs security surveillance on the parking lot. I think in this case, obviously, the suspect fully could realize that those things were present and still chose to do what he did.
Hy-Vee officials have many security features at their Conley Road store in Columbia. They are going to review the situation to see if they need to make any changes to keep their customers as safe as possible.
Mid-Missouri police are investigating multiple sexual assault reports in the past 24 hours.Columbia police said they got two reports last night from stores in the Conley Road shopping complex. The first report came in at 7:35 Tuesday night. A 57 year old female said a man approached her when she was loading groceries into her car in the Sam's Club parking lot. The victim said the man pointed a handgun at her. She yelled at the man and he got in his truck and left the scene.Around 11:00 Tuesday night, officers got a report of a 22 year old female running into the Hy-Vee grocery store screaming for help. The victim told police she was loading groceries into her car when a man approached her with a handgun. The victim said the suspect forced her into the back seat of a vehicle and sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to escape and run into Hy-Vee for help. The description of this suspect matched the one from Sam's Club earlier in the night.Around midnight, Boonville Police contacted Columbia Police about a similar incident that occured at a local gas station. Boonville police were able to get a license plate on the truck involved in that incident.
Around 2:00 a.m. a Lafayette County Sheriff Deputy spotted the suspect's truck on I-70, and stopped the truck. After a short standoff with deputies, the suspect shot and killed himself.
The investigation continues and police are working to confirm that suspect in Lafayette County is the same suspects from the Columbia and Boonville incidents.