CROWN POINT — Authorities were searching for a Gary man sentenced in absentia Friday to 120.5 years in prison for kidnapping a woman from the Gary Metro Center nearly two years ago, repeatedly raping her and forcing her to drive around naked during a five-hour ordeal.
Montrelle D. Dubose, 52, failed to show up on the third day of his trial last month, was convicted of 13 criminal counts related the attack and failed to appear in court Friday for his sentencing hearing.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Samuel Cappas said Dubose is "the worst of the worst."
"Frankly, Mr. Dubose is the epitome of the definition of a sexual predator," the judge said.
After pronouncing sentence, Cappas became emotional as he offered the woman and her family his sympathy.
The woman, formerly of Avon, Indiana, said she often thinks about what she could have done differently to avoid Dubose's attack.
She struggles to think of herself as more than "the girl who was raped," she said.
She valued her virginity, and Dubose stole it from her, she said.
'I felt disgusted with myself'
After Dubose let her go, she spent hours talking to medical staff at a local hospital and investigators.
"I remember showering the day after and feeling so dirty," she said. "I brushed my teeth over and over. ... I just didn't know how I could ever be able to feel clean again. I felt disgusted with myself that I was no longer a virgin."
She struggles with depression and anxiety about men, but she finished an internship that brought her to Gary in 2019, earned her bachelor's degree in engineering and has started her career, she said.
Dubose's failure to appear for trial robbed her of the closure she might have gotten from watching him be handcuffed and taken into custody upon conviction, she said.
According to court records, Dubose persuaded the woman to give him a ride June 9, 2019, by falsely claiming to be a police officer. He noticed she was crying in a bathroom after arriving at Metro Center about 8 p.m. and followed her outside to a vehicle.
As the woman drove with Dubose, he directed her down a dark alley and told her he would kill her if she screamed or tried to escape, took her keys and forced her to perform a sex act, records said.
Dubose directed the woman to drive to another location, where she believed he bought marijuana, then drove her back to the alley, where he again forced her to perform sex acts and raped her, records state.
He ordered her to take him to an ATM and withdraw $40, then made her return to the alley and raped her again.
During the ordeal, which went on until 12:45 a.m., her forced her to drive around naked, she said.
When he dropped her off at a gas station near Fifth Avenue and told her, "Stay safe, take care, get home ... you're really sweet," court records state.
The woman sped off and called her mother, who was at the Gary Police Department attempting to report her missing.
'An inner strength not many can match'
The woman's mother said her daughter is the most brilliant person she knows, but also has always been very naive and trusting.
Their family used to joke that gullible was spelled like the woman's name, but now the thought of it brings tears to the mother's eyes.
She feels guilty because she wanted her daughter to face her fears by taking the bus. Instead, her daughter learned about "the harsh realities of life in the worst possible way," she said.
The mother has spend nearly $10,000 on counseling for the family and other expenses related to the case — the same amount Dubose paid in bond to secure his release from jail, she said.
Her daughter's accomplishments since the assault show "she has an inner strength not many can match," the mother said.
Dubose's attorney, John Cantrell, asked Cappas for a sentence of less than 50 years, because anything more would essentially be a death sentence.
Cantrell didn't dispute Dubose has seven previous felony and 10 misdemeanor convictions.
"This isn't a murder," Cantrell said, saying he was asking for a sentence that wasn't "entirely punitive."
Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Infinity Westberg this wasn't the first time Dubose assaulted a woman he randomly met in a public place.
She asked for a maximum sentence of 120.5 years, partly because Dubose has prior convictions for rape, robbery, kidnapping, failure to register as a sex offender and multiple crimes of dishonesty.
"Montrelle Dubose is a monster," Westberg said. "He's a danger to every person he meets. He acted with no regard for her humanity or dignity, and he will do it again."
The Lake County Sheriff's Department Warrants Division has been searching for Dubose, who posted a $10,000 bond July 14, 2020, spokeswoman Pam Jones said. He has active warrants for failure to appear and failure to register as a sex offender.
Anyone with information about Dubose's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Lake County sheriff's Warrants Division at 219-755-3057. To remain anonymous, call the Gary police crime tip line at 866-CRIME-GP.
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