TISHOMINGO, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s a small college in southeastern Oklahoma, and for Savannah Goodwin, attending Murray State College was a chance to fulfill her basketball dreams.
“It means everything. That’s the one time I don’t think about anything else. I just think about playing,” Savannah Goodwin said.
Savannah moved to Tishomingo from Finland on a basketball scholarship in fall of 2019.
In the months that followed — she became close to her teammates, but last November everything changed when Savannah went for a late night walk on campus.
“I was walking toward the stables to see the horses,” Goodwin said.
It was around 2 a.m. in early November. Savannah said she felt sick and needed some air, so she went to see the horses because they always helped relax her, but she decided it was too cold and started walking back to her dorm when she believes someone knocked her unconscious.
A black eye appeared when she woke up.
And that wasn’t all.
“My clothes being on me differently and just different in my private areas,” Goodwin said.
Her cell phone, wallet and keys were gone too.
Savannah ran screaming toward her apartment where her friend found her and took her inside a friend’s dorm.
At first, campus police really didn’t think a crime had taken place.
“Was told she was having an anxiety attack and she was fine. Then three hours later, received another phone call that the story had changed. That we had an alleged sexual assault,” Chief Sam Holt with Murray State College Campus Police said.
Savannah’s coach was then called by a friend to come over, and that’s when Savannah claims the coach gave her this advice:
“The first thing was my coach telling me to take a shower,” Goodwin said.
“My teammates Izza and Katarina said ‘don’t take a shower. That’s the one thing you shouldn’t do,’” Goodwin said.
Savannah says her coach thought she was dehydrated from being sick and simply passed out, but that made no sense to her.
Savannah’s coach took her to her to an ER near the campus.
She later insisted on getting a rape kit at a local hospital.
“At the emergency center, they tried to tell me I had fainted. My coach told them I fainted because of dehydration,” Goodwin said.
Holt does not believe Savannah’s injuries were the result of a fall, but he doesn’t know what happened.
“Very unusual story, but we’re working this as it is an assault,” he said.
At this point, he doesn’t have any suspects and officers haven’t made any arrests.
“I don’t think it would happen during a fall in my opinion because there were no other scratches. No other bruises anywhere,” Holt said.
The results of the sexual assault kit still aren’t back months later.
But her initial exam showed evidence of a sexual assault including vaginal bleeding and an anal injury, as well as the black eye.
Goodwin said her mother has reached out to the school’s Title IX officer multiple times with no response.
“I’m really angry on how the school handled. I just have this feeling it was consciously to shift somewhere to where it can be buried or not talked about,” Goodwin said.
Murray State College officials tell KFOR they are investigating the alleged assault. They have requested assistance from OSBI for the SANE test, Tishomingo Police Department and Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. A new law requires all law enforcement agencies to submit SANE kits to a forensic lab.
“This is a hard case. I’m not going to lie to you,” Holt said.
“She didn’t see anybody, hear anybody, no lights, flashlights, car lights because there’s not lights down there,” he said.
In the meantime, police said they have stepped up patrols in that area of campus.
A few months after the incident, Holt tells KFOR they identified a person of interest, a man caught on surveillance video acting strangely on campus at unusual times. He lives in the area, but so far no arrests have been made.
“I feel like we have done everything we can on this case,” Holt said.
Savannah says it’s not enough.
She moved back to Finland not long after this happened. The trauma was too much to handle.
She said her mother called the Finnish Embassy to get them involved in getting answers from the college.
Nine months after she consented to a rape examination, she’s still no closer to knowing what happened that night.
“I still feel unsafe, paranoid. I have a lot of paranoia. I still don’t know what happened and the DNA is going to take eight months, they said, so I have no clarity on what happened,” Goodwin said.
An unsolved mystery and a young woman left scarred by the unknown.
KFOR spoke to Goodwin’s former teammate who said she also left Murray State College over the handling of this incident.
KFOR has asked to speak with Savannah’s coach, but the school will only refer us to their Title IX officer who still hasn’t returned our multiple requests.
Murray State College President Joy McDaniel sent us the following statement:
Murray State College places high value on the safety and security of its students, staff and faculty. It is our goal to have MSC recognized as the safest campus in Oklahoma, and we have invested in a campus police force that is CLEET certified and trained.Murray State College President Joy McDaniel
We address student concerns on an individual basis and work with local and state law enforcement if necessary. Our priority is always to create positive outcomes around whatever issues are reported as being of concern.
Creating an environment that allows for student success within a secure and nurturing campus community is what we put at the top of our priority list each and every day.
As for the long-awaited results of that rape kit, OSBI tells us because of a new law requiring law enforcement to submit rape kits to their office, there has been a huge increase of demand on testing in their lab.
- Gun and ammo shortage looms as hunting season approaches
- Silver Star Nation Interactive: Cowboys fall to Seattle, look ahead to Cleveland
- Man charged with killing wife in Missouri after 4 prior domestic reports
- Tampa International to be first US airport to offer COVID-19 testing in terminal
- Mickey: Cowboys licking their wounds