Chico Police say when they arrested Lonnie Keith on rape and kidnapping charges it appeared the 40-year-old physician’s assistant was stocked up for another attack.
Keith was arraigned on two counts of kidnapping and one count of rape in connection with two attacks on college-age women in the area South of the Chico State campus.
At a press conference Tuesday, Chico Police detectives said they arrested Keith after pulling his car over near W. 4th and Orange Streets around 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
"It appeared to us that this vehicle was staged for another assault," Lt. Mike O’Brien said.
Chico police say when they arrested 40-year-old Lonnie Keith early Saturday morning he had his car loaded and ready for what they believe would have been his third kidnapping and rape.
"There were two syringes loaded with an unknown clear substance. There were rubber latex gloves and several nylons," O’Brien said.
Detectives say all of those items were used in a pair of kidnapping and rapes that were committed in September and October of last year in the area south of the Chico State campus.
"Both victims were injected with an unknown substance. We do know that substance caused a sedative effect," O’Brien said. "Both victims had their hands and feet bound with plastic zip ties and their eyes covered with tape."
Officers say they initially pulled Keith over after noticing the back windows of his car were covered with blankets similar to the M.O. reported in the previous rapes.
After the preliminary search turned up the two syringes, detectives say they got a warrant and found a hidden compartment under the passenger’s seat where they found metal handcuffs and leg restraints, more syringes and vials of prescription sedatives.
"Several of those vials contain the same substance that was found in one of our victims based upon a toxicology screening after one of the assaults,” O’Brien said.
Police say they are still working to determine if Keith obtained the drugs from his jobs as a part-time physician's assistant at Enloe Medical Center and Oroville Hospital.
They are also looking into the possibility that the married father of four could be connected to nine other attacks on college-aged women over the past 18 months.
"You can see the scope and the number of investigations that are ongoing, all of these remain active. There is DNA evidence with several of these incidents that has been collected and is being forensically processed," O’Brien said.
Investigators say they are also collecting evidence from a pair of vehicles they say Keith sold in December that match the description of vehicles used in the attacks.
Keith is currently being held on $3.2 million bail and could face 32 years to life if convicted on all of the charges.