This article discusses sexual assault. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call RAINN’s national sexual assault hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for confidential support.
MADISON, Wis. — An arrest was made in the attack of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student Wednesday morning.
Madison police confirmed 26-year-old Brandon A. Thompson was arrested for first-degree sexual assault, first-degree reckless injury and strangulation charges, according to Dane Co. jail records.
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said police believe the suspect and the female student were strangers and Thompson attacked the student at random.
Police said at least one witness saw Thompson at the scene of the crime. They told police Thompson pretended to be a bystander who had just found the victim. Witnesses said he immediately left the scene by car.
Police said security camera footage from residents played a pivotal role in Thompson's arrest and was key to identifying him as a suspect.
“Video that we received from the community proved to be a linchpin in the investigation. As a result of this video, detectives were able to read a license plate that directly let to the identification of Brandon Thompson as the perpetrator of this assault," Paige Valenta, Madison Police Department's assistant chief, said.
Police said the woman was found around 3:20 a.m., along the 500 block of West Wilson Street. A person living in the area called the police after noticing the victim was attacked.
The victim was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. She remained in critical condition as of Sunday afternoon, but is expected to improve to stable condition, police said.
“Her life is forever changed. Her family’s life is forever changed. We will continue to work hard to make sure Mr. Thompson is held fully accountable in a court of law for the heinous act that he perpetrated," Valenta said.
Police added the victim is in her 20s and that she is a “survivor of physical and sexual assault” as a result of the incident. Barnes declined to speak on the victim's condition during Wednesday's press conference.
In 2021, there were 19 reported cases of rape on UW-Madison campus property, according to the 2022 UW-Madison Annual Security Report & Annual Fire Safety Report. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows there were over 11,000 sex offenses in residence halls and other locations in 2019.
Anyone with information on the case can contact the MPD non-emergency line at (608) 255-2345 or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014. Information can also be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers at p3tips.com.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.