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Man arrested for allegedly beating, sexually assaulting UW-Madison student off-campus

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(MADISON, Wisc.) — A man has been arrested for allegedly beating and sexually assaulting a University of Wisconsin-Madison student, Madison police announced at a news conference Wednesday.

There was no connection between the victim and the suspect, who was identified as Brandon Thompson, police said.

Authorities called the randomness of the crime “frightening.”

The victim, a woman in her 20s, was “violently attacked” while walking early Sunday, police said. She was found around 3:20 a.m. off-campus on a block in downtown Madison, police said. Someone who lives in the area called police after finding the victim “severely beaten,” the Madison Police Department said.

A witness told police that Thompson was at the scene of the crime. Thompson allegedly told that witness he had “just found” the survivor and was “pretending to be an innocent bystander,” police said.

Thompson then allegedly fled the scene.

Police said video submitted by the community showed a license plate that helped lead authorities to Thompson.

Police also said Wednesday that they used body-worn camera footage from police in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, who had pulled Thompson over while he was driving, to link him to public cameras that allegedly captured Thompson walking behind the victim just before the assault.

The victim was taken in critical condition to a local hospital, police said. Authorities said Tuesday that she was expected to survive her injuries. Police on Wednesday did not elaborate on her condition.

“We are deeply concerned for this individual, keeping them and their family in our thoughts and providing all possible support,” UW-Madison Dean of Students Christina Olstad and UW Police Chief Kristen Roman said in an alert to the school community regarding the “violent and severe attack.”

Police this week urged people to be on “high alert” and said patrols in the area were increased.

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