Suspect arrested for Palo Alto kidnap, rape, attempted murder | May 28, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 28, 2010

Suspect arrested for Palo Alto kidnap, rape, attempted murder

Lionel Blanks, 36, of Santa Clara arrested near his home late Wednesday afternoon

by Sue Dremann

Police arrested a suspect Wednesday afternoon in connection with the kidnap, rape and attempted murder of a Palo Alto woman early Saturday morning.

Lionel Blanks, 36, of Santa Clara was arrested near his home at 5 p.m. Wednesday by Santa Clara police detectives, according to Palo Alto police spokeswoman Lt. Sandra Brown.

Blanks allegedly brutally attacked a woman after climbing into her 2001 black Mercedes Benz SUV in the 1600 block of El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

She was beaten, abducted and taken to the 400 block of Saratoga Avenue in Santa Clara, where she was sexually assaulted and raped, police reported. She flagged down a passing motorist and called Santa Clara police at 5:24 a.m. After an initial investigation they referred the case to Palo Alto police, according to Brown.

Blanks is initially being charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and attempted murder. Official charges will be determined by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.

Blanks' arraignment date has not yet been set, Brown said.

Brown said there was "excellent teamwork" by Palo Alto and Santa Clara police departments, the Stanford Department of Public Safety, the Santa Clara County Crime Lab, and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

"We also want to particularly note the cooperation of the news media and to thank the citizens who have called in with information about this case."


Posted by good job PAPD, a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Good job PAPD. And thanks also to witnesses who came forward and provided useful information to the police.

Posted by Bpark res, a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Another great job by the PAPD! Thank you to all of the officers that keep our community safe.

Posted by JM, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Very good police job indeed!

Posted by Question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Good news.

However, I can't help but wonder why a description of the assailant was never published during the police search for him... ?

Posted by insider, a resident of another community
on May 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm

race (black) was not mentioned earlier because they wanted to avoid a "Lynn Johnson" moment.

Posted by Not Overwhelmed, a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Let's see ..

The Santa Clara Crime Lab examines evidence brought it it.

Fingerprints are collected and matched in all known databases to determine identify of perpetrator.

(DNA might have been used, given a longer timeline.)

A Warrant is issued by a Judge, once the perp's identity is established.

The Santa Clara Police go along to provide jurisdictional authority.

An arrest is made very quickly in this case.

The perp is put away in the County jail.

Seems like the PA PD did its part, as did all of the other players in this County-wide law enforcement web. In all likelihood, had this attack occurred in Mountain View, or Sunnyvale, the results would have been the same in these towns too.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

If this is the guy, this is a total relief. I hope the survivor and her loved ones are relieved and recovering.

Posted by Do you mind?!, a resident of Downtown North
on May 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Not Overwhelmed - So what's your point? That citizens shouldn't be grateful or express their appreciation for their town's police work/dept.? So, you're suggesting it was a simple solution or a straightforward case? I don't read anyone going overboard with their comments. Just your comment which serves as a downer to all of us.

Thank you PAPD, other Law Enforcement agencies, witnesses and grateful residents!

Posted by Michelle, a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Thank you PAPD for all your hardwork. It doesn't seem to show in the article, of course, but I heard all the hours that were worked in this case and I want to say thank you!

Posted by Walker, a resident of Professorville
on May 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Well done, PAPD!

My thoughts and prayers go to the victim and her family.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Officers were working overtime to solve this case. Remember this when you see a officer's overtime in the papers at the end of the year. Great job PAPD!!

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Thank you, PAPD!

Let this entire horrific ordeal serve as a warning to other women in our community. Be careful! If you are going to go out, make an extra effort to be safe.

Posted by A Santa Claran, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I would also like to give "PROPS" to the Santa Clara Police Department for their role in the quick capture of this MONSTER!

Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2010 at 4:03 pm

So glad to read that this predator is off the streets. Thanks so much to all police involved in his capture. I'm sure it's of some consolation to the victim knowing he's in custody. I felt so badly reading what happened to her. I think all women can imagine the fear she must have felt. I wish her a speedy recovery, physically and mentally.

Posted by Tiffany, a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I am relieved to hear of an arrest in this case. I felt so bad for the victim when I saw people were questioning the story already (based on scant details from an article) from her inability to describe the suspect, the hour she was out and so on. I can't imagine how deeply traumatized she must be and wish her much support on recovering and reclaiming her life and sense of security.

Posted by P'd off, a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2010 at 6:39 pm

They better have a DNA evidence. They have the habit of thinking they are right. It is not about the witness. We saw how many of those convicted are now coming out of jail one after the other after DNA exonerations. They were only in jail because they were identified by some idiot who thought that was the right person. He's black so it must be him is no longer a valid witness identification. Get science involved and get out of your stereotyping mindset.

Posted by homegirl, a resident of another community
on May 27, 2010 at 6:41 pm

PAPD Rocks! (and everyone else who helped catch this guy)
Let this entire horrific ordeal serve as a warning to other perpetrators in our area. You will be caught! Lucky it was the Police who caught you...

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Not overwhemed/P'd/Same person

Please find another hobby than criticizing the police dept. Your energy could be used in a more productive way.

May the young women and her family know how much the community is wishing her well.

Posted by silly, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 27, 2010 at 7:55 pm

P'd off,

You miss the point. You don't say, "I'm glad a dangerous monster is off the street," you say, "they're racist stereotyping, etc." Nice objective, logical perspective....Let him rent a room at your house then.

Good job PAPD.

Posted by happy resident, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 27, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Good work PAPD and all the other agencies involved ! The goal is now to keep him in jail for a real long time. Maybe they should neutralize him. It will never happen again, and it has nothing to do with race or coulture. It is a concept for everyone. Don't let your love ones go alone at night by then selves.

Posted by anon, a resident of another community
on May 27, 2010 at 8:28 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Hmm - to anon, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 27, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I checked out his page and it made my stomach clench - we have a friend in common. The digital age sure ads an odd hack to things, doesn't it?

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on May 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Great work, PAPD! So glad this criminal has been caught.

May the woman survive the trauma of her attack. Good thoughts and prayers to her.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on May 27, 2010 at 9:29 pm

And kudos to the Santa Clara Police Dept.!

Posted by homegirl, a resident of another community
on May 27, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Hey P'd off-
Of course the Cops have something solid. You don't really think in this day and age in this CITY that anything besides SOLID EVIDENCE will cause an arrest of this magnitude, do you?
That's probally why it took nearly a week to catch the suspect. It doesn't happen overnight like on TV. My educated guess is that fingerprints and/or DNA solved this one. We shall see, as he will have his day in court. There are several lawyers who allegedly 'specialize' in defending these types of cases,(although unsuccessfully) so I am sure all of the facts will get out here in due time. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2010 at 6:29 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Why was the picture removed?

Posted by Sam, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

Good job PAPD.

Please double their pension benefits for a job well done.

Posted by Cynthia, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I was a victim of an attempted rape and was stabbed ten times, I did not receive as much attention as this poor woman who was snatched out of her Mercedes. Since there was no description or any other info besides location and make of car, I have to assume the rest. My newborn baby was slightly injured also but wasn't mentioned at all in the short paragraph describing my attack in the local newspaper.

I remember the paramedics making jokes about me and my baby (like I wasn't even there) while stuffing tubes down my throat with no warning! The police never even questioned me, my family called the police and the guy was arrested. I did go to a hearing to show the court the stab wounds in my neck. He received 10 years and served 5 to return and do it to more people. I was not raped, but I fought him and was stabbed repeatedly as a punishment. I do sympathize with the victim, however, I do wonder why was she sleeping in her car at night on the street? When did it become safe to do that?

Posted by Mike, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm

This female was sleeping with this man nobody looked into this case closely. The DA twisted the case..this man was innocent. Her boyfriend beat her. The truth will come out!!

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