FULLERTON, Calif. - It was supposed to be a fun night out, but the events of Sunday, August 1 changed Samantha Velasquez’s life forever.
The 22-year-old college student was having drinks with a friend of a friend at JP23 in Downtown Fullerton when she met some people she didn’t know.
"There was a crowd starting to form and the music was playing louder and that’s when I met these two girls. They offered me drinks that a man had bought them. And I didn’t think much of it," Samantha said from her Diamond Bar home.
She started drinking the drink and the group moved to the bar area.
"We all started dancing, and that was the last thing I remember," Samantha said. "It just went completely black. And the next thing I remember is waking up in a Metro station parking structure."
She said there were bruises covering her body. Her leggings were ripped, and all of her personal items were gone.
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"I was definitely scared. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t know if I was taken advantage of," she said while holding back tears.
Samantha’s mother urged her to go straight to authorities.
"I asked if she showered. I asked if she changed her undergarments, she said no. I said we’re going to the police," said Samantha’s mother, Monique Juarez.
A rape kit found that Samantha had suffered blunt trauma.
Samantha believes that she was drugged at the bar.
"For me to be completely conscious to just nothing at all, just… I couldn’t even believe it. Even the next day I realized that I wasn’t hungover. I was still drowsy and I was like, I didn’t have my balance, and I was not fully functional. And that’s when I realized, no, this is not me being hungover, this is something more than that."
Fullerton Police said that they are investigating the allegations. JP23’s owner Jacob Poozhikala said that the bar is cooperating with police, and released the following statement regarding the incident to FOX 11:
"I am the owner, Jacob Poozhikala. I was made aware of the sexual assault of a young lady in the parking structure on Sante Fe Ave. in Downtown Fullerton this afternoon (August 4th). The Fullerton PD came by today to review surveillance tapes of the incident. We are trying to help the PD with all our resources to help apprehend this criminal and this cowardly act. We have provided PD with full access to our surveillance tapes. We sympathize with the victim, and with a staff that’s a majority of women, do not condone this type of violence. We will continue to help law enforcement with this investigation."
Since Samantha came forward with her story, she said she has been contacted by multiple women with similar accounts. Yelp and social media reviews detail some of their allegations. FOX 11 is reaching out to other alleged victims.
"This is like five minutes away from Fullerton college and you have girls that are wanting to go out and have fun and can’t even do that because they get drugged by some random person and then get taken advantage of," Samantha said.
She and her family say they will not stop until they get justice.
"What kind of monster leaves a young lady on her back in oil like she’s trash, like she’s just a piece of meat? Who does that?" asked Monique.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help the family cover legal costs.
Are you or someone you know a recent survivor of sexual assault? Help is available. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) provides a 24/7 national sexual assault hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-656-4673.
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