A Farmington man is suspected of befriending a woman at a Durango bar before kidnapping her and sexually assaulting her, according to police and court records.
Law enforcement say there may be other victims.
Terrell Jason Hardy, 38, has been arrested on suspicion of felony kidnapping and sexual assault. He was released Wednesday from the La Plata County Jail on $50,000 bail, said Sgt. Chris Burke, spokesman with the Sheriff’s Office.
According to police, Hardy invited the woman to his hotel room. But instead of going to the hotel, he began driving to his house in New Mexico. The woman demanded that he turn around, so Hardy returned to Durango and parked in a hotel parking lot.
The woman, who was highly intoxicated, passed out during the ride. Hardy is suspected of sexually assaulting her while she was passed out, police said.
“We are concerned there may be other victims,” said Cmdr. Ray Shupe, spokesman for the police department. “If you are a victim or have been a victim of this individual, please reach out to us.”
According to a four-page arrest affidavit, the woman told police she was downtown with friends the night of July 22. She drank more than usual, she said, to the point of vomiting at one bar before going to another. She also had an argument with friends earlier in the evening.
At the second bar, the woman met Hardy who said he had a room at the DoubleTree Hotel and invited her to stay with him and go home in the morning. The woman said she was initially OK with the plan.
The two could be seen on security cameras leaving the bar and walking toward Hardy’s car, according to the arrest affidavit.
The woman said Hardy drove toward the DoubleTree Hotel before stopping for gas at the Speedway gas station in the 600 block of Camino del Rio. The woman thought it was strange because the hotel was just across the street, she told police.
Security camera footage showed Hardy and his black SUV at the gas station.
Hardy then got onto Camino del Rio and turned onto U.S. Highway 160 to drive west. The woman asked Hardy where he was taking her, because he had passed the DoubleTree. Hardy said he was taking her to his place in Farmington and that he was taking Wildcat Canyon Road (County Road 141) and La Plata Highway (Colorado Highway 140) to avoid law enforcement, according to the affidavit.
The woman said she repeatedly told Hardy she did not want to go to Farmington and asked him to turn around or drop her off, according to the affidavit.
The woman said Hardy kept driving, and she considered jumping out of the vehicle to get away. Hardy became upset she did not want to go with him, and the woman seemed to remember him hitting the steering wheel or dashboard, according to the affidavit.
Hardy eventually turned around and began heading back toward Durango. The woman told police she remembers tilting her head back in the passenger seat and trying not to pass out.
Hardy drove back toward Durango and parked somewhere on the side of the road, she told police. She recalled him saying something to the effect of, “This isn’t private enough?” before continuing to the Best Western Durango Inn, 21382 Highway 160, where he pulled into the parking lot.
Hardy allegedly began touching the woman in places she was uncomfortable with. She told Hardy multiple times she did not consent to the interactions, according to the affidavit.
The woman said the last thing she remembers is trying to retrieve her ID and phone before blacking out. Sometime later, the woman “snapped out of it.” She said she woke up in the back seat of the SUV with Hardy grunting on top of her.
She also remembered hearing voices outside Hardy’s vehicle.
Upon realizing Hardy was driving to Farmington, the woman said she used a messaging service to notify a friend, said Detective Mike Kelly, with the Durango Police Department.
The friend was using the woman’s old phone, or vice versa, which allowed the friend to turn on GPS tracking, such as “find my device,” which allowed the friend to track her to the Best Western, Kelly said.
The friend located Hardy’s vehicle and began knocking on the window to find out what was going on, he said.
“They pulled her out of the car. There was some argument. He was resistive to letting her leave,” Kelly said.
But Hardy eventually drove away.
After notifying police, the woman participated in a SANE exam, which is done to collect forensic evidence after an alleged sexual assault.
Police reviewed surveillance footage from the bar, transit center and gas station. They were able to identify Hardy’s license plate number and clothing description.
They also had body camera footage from earlier in the night. In one instance, an officer was dealing with an unrelated incident downtown. The officer’s body camera happened to capture where Hardy’s vehicle was parked. Also, Hardy was stopped earlier in the night by the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office as part of a routine traffic stop. The deputy’s body camera captured Hardy’s clothing, which matched the victim’s description.
Police obtained an arrest warrant for Hardy on suspicion of kidnapping and sexual assault.
In his affidavit, detective Kelly says Hardy knowingly deceived the woman by offering her a ride to a hotel room. Officers confirmed Hardy did not have a hotel room booked at the DoubleTree the night of the alleged assault and kidnapping.
Kelly said it is also apparent Hardy moved the woman from the front seat of his SUV to the back seat to sexually assault her.
The woman was “extremely intoxicated” the night of the incident, and she was likely unable to provide valid consent to sexual relations, according to the affidavit. The woman also said she did not consent to his sexual advances and blacked out multiple times during the encounter.
Hardy may have been involved in “one or two other incidents” the weekend of July 22-24, Kelly said. He was also in town several weeks before that weekend, he said.
“We have concern that there could be other people who may have interacted with him in a negative way,” he said. “… It seems like he is targeting people extremely intoxicated who are in some way being separated from their group of friends.”
He asked potential victims to call 375-4738.
He also reminded people to be wary about who they leave bars with; if they go out with friends, they should return home with friends.
And law enforcement is reminding people not to leave drinks unattended or to accept drinks from random people they may not know. Police are aware of a possible uptick in date rape drugs being used in downtown bars, something that tends to occur more often during the summertime, he said. Police said they are unsure if Hardy gave his victim a date rape drug.
Kelly said the woman had a “gut feeling” that something was wrong and did what she could to get away.
“She leaned on friends and that very, very much saved her from further harm,” he said.