WSU doctoral student speaks out after attempted kidnapping

Perpetrator has not been found, police continue to investigate.



The Pullman Police Department made multiple arrests in response to domestic violence calls Monday

ALISA VOLZ, Evergreen reporter

Daniela Mendez said that on Feb. 3 a man tried to force his way into her apartment. 

“I was so scared, so terrified,” Mendez,  a molecular biosciences doctoral student said. “I was like, ‘this is not happening to me.’” 

Mendez wrote a Facebook post about the incident in order to warn community members about what she experienced. 

She said she finished her daily work at 5 p.m on campus at the biotechnology/life sciences building, went to the gym, and got back to her home at Boulder Creek Apartments at 6 p.m.  

Mendez said she saw a black SUV with no license plates parked with its trunk open outside of her apartment when she arrived home. She said she recognized it as the same car she saw driving towards her apartment complex as she walked home from her bus stop. 

“I was looking at the car while walking towards my apartment door, and then they opened the trunk,” she said. “I didn’t think much of it. I just kept walking into my apartment.”

Mendez said she saw the perpetrator after unlocking her door. 

“I didn’t hear anything,” she said. “No steps, no breathing, nothing. Then I opened the door. 

I turned around to close it and there was a man standing behind me.” 

Mendez said she had to press all her body weight against the door to prevent the perpetrator from entering. She said he continuously rang her doorbell while trying to enter the apartment.

She told police the man was about 5’5” with dark hair, possibly Asian or Latino. He was wearing a green sweatshirt at the time of the incident.

Mendez said that the perpetrator left when she called the police. By the time officers arrived at her apartment, the perpetrator and the car were gone. 

Pullman police Sergeant Todd Dow was one of the officers who responded to Mendez’s call. Dow said he thinks he and other officers just missed finding the perpetrator who left when Mendez called the police. 

“I hope she feels safe,” he said. “I know she wasn’t making it up. I know that. She was definitely very shaken. I contacted her and I believe everything she told me. I just don’t know what this was.” 

Dow said the Pullman Police Department has received multiple tips, but none have been substantive enough to progress the case. 

There have been tips about possible suspects, but none have matched the description Mendez gave, he said.

Dow said he is continuing to investigate this incident. He urges people to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. 

“A basic level of awareness of your surroundings is helpful and it’s probably enough to keep this kind of danger at bay most of the time,” he said. “People should feel free to call us whenever there’s someone around that doesn’t make them feel safe.” 

Mendez said she thinks she was targeted because she has a consistent daily schedule. 

“They obviously knew my schedule,” Mendez said. “They knew that I lived alone. And because of the car being open, running and being in reverse ready to go, I think that it had to be some type of abduction or kidnapping.” 

She also said that everybody should always trust their intuition. 

“Always listen to that little voice in your head,” Mendez said. “That’s your sixth sense. Or if you’re a believer and you have faith, that may be God. So just always listen to that. Always, always always. No matter what.”