Police: Witnesses follow screams, stop rape attempt on Springfield trail


http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/crime/2015/07/07/police-witnesses-follow-screams-stop-rape-attempt-springfield-trail/29814433/

Christopher Muller

Springfield police say three witnesses followed a 14-year-old girl’s screams along a dark trail, pulled a would-be rapist off her and held the man down until officers arrived.

Three friends were parking their car at a Greenway Trail near Wilson’s Creek on Thursday night when they heard a girl screaming for help, according to a probable cause statement.

The three friends followed the sounds of the screams, using a cell phone as their flashlight, until they found a man later identified as Christopher Muller wearing only his boxers lying on top of the girl, according to the statement

The friends rushed in and pulled Muller off the girl and — after what documents describe as a small scuffle — detained him until police arrived, the statement says.

Police arrested Muller, 22, and he was charged Friday with rape or attempted rape and attempted statutory rape. He is being held in the Greene County Jail on $250,000 bond.

The statement says the 14-year-old victim was in stable condition after the attack, but she was “completely unresponsive.” Police said she was either under the influence of something or in extreme shock.

Police interviewed Muller on Friday in jail and he told them the girl — who he thought was 15 — was “hot” but he denied raping her, according to the statement.

Muller told police he and the girl had gone to the park that night with another friend. He said he had gone swimming, which is why he was wearing only his boxers when police arrived, according to the statement.

Muller told police all he remembered was walking back toward the car after swimming when he was tackled by someone. He said he was not sure who tackled him because he was not wearing his glasses, according to the statement.

Muller does not have an attorney listed for this case.

Some information — such as names of victims, relationships with a defendant or locations of crimes — can be missing in News-Leader stories about sexual offenses and domestic abuse. That’s due in part to a state law that redacts the identities of victims, making some information unavailable to report. The News-Leader also tries to protect victim identities, unless victims want to speak out.

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