crimesider

Arrest made after woman raped, burned in Kansas

Fairmount Park in Wichita, Kan., scene of alleged sexual assault in the which the female victim was also set on fire, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014

CBS affiliate KWCH

WICHITA, Kan. - A 26-year-old man has been arrested in connection to the rape and severe burning of a woman who was found in park near the Wichita State University campus in Kansas, police said Thursday.

The man, whose name hasn't been released, was linked to the attack by forensic evidence obtained after the woman was found and taken to a hospital Friday night, according to Wichita Police Chief Nelson Mosley. He said police are still investigating whether the man knew the 36-year-old victim, who remains in critical condition. Police have not been able to talk with her.

The man hasn't been formally charged but is being held on suspicion of rape and attempted first-degree murder at the Sedgwick County Detention Center in Wichita, Mosley said. No court appearance had been scheduled as of Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters were responding to a grass fire around 11 p.m. Friday when they found the woman at Fairmount Park with severe burns on more than half her body and cuts on her head. Police said investigators believe she was attacked following a "random encounter" with the man, but no details have been released.

Mosley said "this tragic and horrendous incident" was affecting the entire community. He said the local police and fire departments, along with forensic experts, were still investigating. He said tips were coming in to police, but he declined to discuss specifics, saying it could jeopardize the case.

Crime Stoppers and local businesses are offering a combined $5,000 for information about the case.