UPDATE: Police confirm suspect in Hy-Vee sexual assault

A CPD spokeswoman said Tuesday night’s incidents are not related to the rape that occurred at Laws residence hall.

Police are investigating three incidents that occurred Tuesday night, one of which was a sexual assault at the Hy-Vee on Conley Road. According to a Columbia Police Department news release, after the third incident, police confronted the suspect, Todd Rehkop, who committed suicide on the scene.

The 22-year-old victim of the sexual assault, who ran into the store screaming for help, had been unloading groceries into her car around 11 p.m. Tuesday when a male with a handgun approached her.

“He initially ordered her to perform oral sex, and then ordered her to strip down,” CPD spokeswoman Jill Wieneke said.

The victim was able to escape from the car and ran inside the store for help.

“I guess she felt like there was an opportunity that came up for her to get away, and she took the chance,” Wieneke said.

The victim provided police with a description of the suspect and the truck he was driving.

Investigators believe the incident is related to one that happened at about 7:35 p.m. at Sam’s Club on Conley Road. A 57-year-old victim told police a man approached her while she was unloading groceries and pointed a handgun at her. She yelled at him to back away.

“He just smiled at her and walked off, which is creepy,” Wieneke said.

In a news release, Wieneke said she could not confirm whether Rehkop was a suspect in the Sam's Club incident.

A third similar incident happened again at about midnight at a gas station in Boonville.

At about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, a Lafayette County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the truck and initiated a traffic stop of the suspect. The suspect initiated a brief standoff with deputies and committed suicide, shooting himself in the head.

Wieneke said CPD has not confirmed whether the three incidents are related.

“They can look at video, photographs and what victims have said,” Wieneke said. “We believe they are based on the descriptions that are very consistant and the vehicles are very consistent, but we’ve got some very technical things we have to do.”

Wieneke said Tuesday night’s incidents are not related to the rape that happened at Laws residence hall.

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