UPDATE: Attempted rape suspect faces judge - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Attempted rape suspect faces judge

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

For the first time, we're hearing how a pair of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students fought off a man who followed one of them into their apartment. 

We're also learning the victim had to wait nearly three hours to talk to police after calling 9-1-1 last week at Douglas Heights Apartments. 

Thomas Lee Carr, 28, faced a judge Monday on an attempted rape charge. 

"I was walking home on 930 Douglas Street and I saw a guy from another direction and we met at the same door to get inside of the building," the victim testified during Monday's preliminary hearing. 

The UTC student said Thomas Carr, who she'd never met, stuck out because he was wearing a tank op and it was cold outside. 

She told a Hamilton County judge Carr followed her into the building and into the elevator all the way to her apartment door. 

"From behind me, when I opened the door, I guess he kind of pushed in and I turned around and I saw him," she added. 

The young woman identified Carr in a line up as the man who attempted to rape her. 

"That's when I began to yell like, "Help, help help." We were in the living room. I didn't think anyone else was in the house but my roommates were in their rooms with the door closed but I didn't think anyone else was there so that's when I started to scream and kick him," she said. 

The victim's roommate told the judge she heard those cries for help and walked into the living room-- scaring Carr off. 

"He never said anything. I never heard his voice," the roommate said, "I watched him run down the hallway and I was just remembering what he had on."

Hallway cameras caught Carr running away. Those pictures helped police identify him less than 24 hours later. 

Investigator Christopher Grafe questioned Carr, who admitted to being at the scene. 

"He elaborated that he had followed this lady to her apartment building, that was locked, that he does not live at, followed her into the elevator, that is locked, and then followed her to her room," Grafe said. 

The judge bound the case over to the grand jury. His bond is at $75,000, if he makes that bond he will be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor. 

The victim's roommate told the judge it took officers three hours to interview them. 

She said an officer responded, but left his phone somewhere and left to retrieve it. 

A second officer took their statements hours later. 

Channel 3 reached out to Chattanooga Police about the response time. 

They tell us their records show an officer responded within minutes of the 9-1-1 call and that the "investigation was carried out throughout the day and involved calling in investigators and officers going on and off the scene."

We're following this case closely and we'll let you know what happens.


Thomas Lee Carr, the suspect in an attempted rape earlier this month, had a preliminary hearing Monday morning.

Carr was seen on surveillance cameras inside the apartment building. Tips from the community led police to Carr.

Monday, Carr's attempted victim testified about the incident. It is Channel 3's standard policy to not identify victims of sexual assault crimes.

 The victim's roommate walked in on the attack, and was able to scare the suspect away.

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