FORT WORTH - Authorities have asked for the public's help in connection to the sexual assault of an elderly woman during a ride share on Oct. 22.
The victim was assaulted after she used the Uber app to request a ride during the early evening hours, said Officer Jimmy Pollozani, a spokesman with the Fort Worth Police Department, during a news conference Monday.
Authorities identified the suspect as 40-year-old Hashem Ramezanpour.
Pollozani said Ramezanpour picked up the victim from the Dallas address and then stopped his vehicle in an unknown wooded area about five to 10 minutes from the passenger's home in North Fort Worth. He then allegedly assaulted the victim, resumed the ride and dropped her off at her home.
Ramezanpour has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of an elderly victim. His bond has been set at $100,000.
Pollazani said lab work from the victim's sexual assault exam led to the positive identification of the suspect. Authorities say during their investigation they learned the suspect possibly fled the country to an unknown location.
The suspect's vehicle is described as a white 2016 Honda Civic with Texas plates JBY-3214. Authorities didn't reveal which ride share app the victim used.
Police have asked anyone with information pertaining to the case or the suspect's whereabouts to contact the sex crime unit at 817-392-4350 or 817-392-4359.
Tips can also be made to Crime Stoppers, which is offering up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest and indictment. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 817-469-TIPS (8477) or visit www.469tips.com.
“What has been described and reported to police is a violent act no person should ever have to go through," read a statement from Uber on the assault. "We are working with law enforcement officials to fully support their investigation. This former driver's access was immediately removed from the app and he has been permanently banned."
Uber also released this information on their process to hire drivers:
All drivers undergo a thorough screening process (completed by CheckR which is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners) before they gain access to Uber. This includes a Motor Vehicle Records check and criminal records check that scours local, state and national databases.
We leverage technology to increase accountability and transparency in transportation, including logging the driver's information and making it available to the rider to verify the right car, tracking every trip with GPS technology so riders and drivers are always on the map; providing 24/7 support and investigating any issues.
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