Santa Barbara authorities investigate gang rape

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities appealed Monday for the public’s help as they try to identify suspects in the beating and gang rape of a University of California, Santa Barbara student.

The 19-year-old woman was attacked by several men early Sunday morning, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. The woman was last seen between midnight and 12:30 a.m. Sunday walking northbound on Embarcadero Del Mar near Segovia Road, roughly two blocks away from campus, Hoover said.

No witnesses or surveillance footage has been found, she said.

“The victim in this case was not in good shape, and we were only able to get some basic information from her,” said Hoover, who called the case “very disturbing.”

Detectives planned to re-interview the student after she had time to recover at home with her family.

Investigators were trying to pinpoint the location of the attack. The student wasn’t sure if it was on campus or in the neighboring community of Isla Vista.

The attack occurred near her residence, so the woman was able to get home and show her roommate what happened, Hoover said. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she received treatment and underwent an examination.

Sheriff’s detectives along with members of the Isla Vista foot patrol - a joint policing effort that includes sheriff’s deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and university police - were investigating.

University police beefed up patrols after issuing multiple notifications of the attack to students over the weekend, UC Santa Barbara police Sgt. Robert Romero said. He called the case “especially heinous” and did not elaborate.

The densely populated beachside community of Isla Vista borders the university and is known for partying. The half-mile area has roughly 23,000 residents, of which 60 percent are students.

Last month, two men and a juvenile were arrested for the alleged sexual assault of an 18-year-old UC Santa Barbara student in Isla Vista.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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