Man hid in woman’s Lawrence home and attacked her when she found him, affidavit alleges

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

A Lawrence police car sits outside a crime scene in this file photo from 2009.

A man reportedly sneaked into a woman’s house and hid in the basement for hours, and when she discovered him there, he attacked her, according to court documents.

Raju Tamang, 30, of Lawrence, was arrested at 11:05 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at a home in west Lawrence. He was charged the following Monday with attempted first-degree murder and attempted rape, both high-severity felonies.

The Journal-World requested and recently received the police affidavit supporting Tamang’s arrest. Allegations in an affidavit have not been proved in court, and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

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According to the allegations in the affidavit:

On Sept. 13, Lawrence police responded to a call from a third party who told them about a sexual assault that had just occurred. The alleged victim, a Lawrence woman, later told police that she had texted for help so Tamang wouldn’t know anyone was calling 911.

The woman reportedly told police that Tamang was from Nepal. He had lived in her basement for several years up until April, when she kicked him out and changed the locks because he’d been drinking a lot. She said he had then stayed at numerous sober houses but kept getting kicked out of them.

Raju Tamang

Raju Tamang

Tamang, who was outside the home when police arrived, told officers that he knew he wasn’t supposed to be inside the home, and he had been let into the house by the cleaning crew earlier in the day, according to the affidavit. Tamang told police “it would all be okay if he just spoke with” the victim, according to the affidavit, but a detective told him that he wouldn’t be allowed to speak with her or go back inside the residence.

Both Tamang and the woman agreed to go, separately, to the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway, for formal interviews.

The woman told police she heard from Tamang’s coworkers that he had gone to the emergency room the night before and they hadn’t heard from him since. She reached Tamang by phone just after 5 p.m., and he told her he was just walking around Massachusetts Street.

Around 7:30 or 8 p.m., though, the woman said she started to hear something sounding like water running in her basement, so she went to investigate. She reportedly told police that as soon as she started walking down to the basement, she smelled alcohol and believed it was possible Tamang was there.

The woman said she attempted to open the door to the furnace room, and there was resistance as though someone on the other side was attempting to keep it closed. When she opened the door and saw Tamang, she told police, she immediately started yelling that he needed to leave. She said Tamang asked if he could just stay the night.

During their argument, they ended up upstairs in the library and, once inside, Tamang grabbed her arms and he either forced her to the ground or she fell; she wasn’t sure. She said she was trying to fight him to get him off of her, but he wouldn’t, even when she managed to grab a key and tried poking and scratching him with it.

As she was pinned, she said Tamang began to grope her under her clothes, and she believed he was trying to kiss her. He also attempted to remove her clothing, she told police.

At one point, Tamang put his hands around her throat and began to strangle her for about a minute, the woman said. She said he also attempted to use a phone charging cord to strangle her, but she was able to prevent him from doing so.

When police asked whether she remembered him saying anything during the attack, she recalled him saying “I’m gonna die anyways,” according to the affidavit; she then told him “You’re not taking me with you,” and he responded “Well maybe I am.” The alleged victim told police that when he started strangling her and making comments about dying, she became seriously scared for her life.

Suddenly, the woman said, Tamang stopped attacking her and became extremely remorseful. He made a comment about wanting to kill himself, and she texted one of his family members to come over because she was concerned he’d hurt himself if she called 911. Then she texted Tamang’s therapist, who called 911.

Detective Kimberlee Nicholson wrote in the affidavit that when she examined the woman for injuries, she noticed numerous bruises on the woman’s arms that she believed resembled bruises made from fingers. The woman had broken blood vessels in her eyes and scratch marks and redness around her neck. She also had a large bruise and scratch on the top of her forehead and a large knot on the top of her head.

Tamang’s family member reportedly told Nicholson that he has always had anger issues. About a year prior, the family member told police, Tamang had pulled a knife on another relative in Oklahoma, but nothing came of it. He was in the United States on a student visa but was not a student; the family member said someone, whose identity was redacted, “has attempted to send Tamang back to Nepal, but he has refused to leave.”

The alleged victim told Nicholson she was concerned for her safety around Tamang and didn’t want anything to do with him. She said she couldn’t imagine what would have happened if she had fallen asleep while he was inside without her knowing.

Nicholson wrote that she found a small gold house key in Tamang’s bag. The woman told her it belonged to her house, and she believed Tamang had stolen it.

As of Tuesday, Tamang was being held in the Douglas County Jail on $500,000 cash or surety bond. He also has a hold from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to online jail records. His next court hearing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 15. Tamang’s appointed attorney, Michael Clarke, declined to comment for this article.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office declined to release Tamang’s booking photo to the Journal-World.

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