An unlocked room on the second floor of the Few Quadrangle was entered by an unknown male Tuesday morning.
Sophomore Catherine White and sophomore Kimberly* woke up at around 5:40 a.m. to find the man standing over their beds. White’s roommate questioned the stranger as to why he was there and he offered various excuses, first claiming to be in the wrong room then telling Kimberly that he had a cab for her outside, using her name that he had seen written on the door. Both girls told the man to leave the room, and he left.
“I was dumbfounded because I didn’t really know what was going on and I’m still pretty asleep and I looked over to my right and my roommate was awake and she was asking him questions like ‘Why are you here?’” White said.
Initially, Kimberly believed the man's statement and assumed he was a student simply in the wrong room. It took her a second glance to realize he was too old to be an undergraduate and his presence in her room was not an accident.
"After i got a good look at him and [saw] 'Oh, this isn't a student,' I was very much caught off guard," Kimberly said. "I didn't really realize what to do, he wasn't leaving our room."
Following the incident, White and Kimberly alerted the Duke University Police Department of what had happened. Two officers came to their door soon after, asking them about the man and reminding them to lock their doors.
“They kind of ended it trying to teach us a lesson—you just have to lock your door,” White said.
Kimberly noted that the event happened in part due to the girls' decision to leave their door unlocked. She also noted that DUPD had been very thorough in their investigation.
White said she was surprised no DukeAlert was sent to notify campus of the male's presence, who has yet to be found. When she asked one of the DUPD officers she had been in contact with why no alert was sent, he told her that, because there had been no robbery or assault, an alert was not necessary.
“On the flip side, if we didn’t get this guy out of our room, what were his intentions?” White said. “His intentions could have been assault or robbery…so that’s why I [said] just because he didn’t follow through with whatever was in his head doesn’t mean we shouldn’t warn people.”
Kimberly echoed White's sentiments, adding that the event happened at a time when students were beginning to wake up and walk around campus.
Although a DukeAlert was not sent to the student body, an email was sent to Few residents, emergency coordinator Kyle Cavanaugh said.
"I'm not at liberty to...get into the specific case facts of this but what was discussed and assessed initially didn't warrant a system wide alert," Cavanaugh said.
White and her roommate were called to the police station afterward to try to identify a suspect who had been previously apprehended, but concluded that this was not the man who had entered their room. She noted that, after the chaos of that morning, she spent the rest of the day trying to return to normality.
Chief of Duke Police John Dailey noted that the investigation is currently active and DUPD's goal is to "figure out who this was and prevent it from occurring again."
“I was numb to the whole experience,” White said. “I don’t know what happened so I’m going to try to get back to my normal day and not think about it.”
White added that the event has left her worried for things that could happen in the future to other students early in the morning.
“It was early enough in the morning [that] I had crew practice…walking by myself at 6 a.m.,” White said. “[It] happened at 5:40 a.m. and people were trolling around campus, so it’s scary.”
*Kimberly's last name was not included for privacy purposes.
Check back for updates on this developing story.