Candlelight vigil held to bring awareness to rapes in a neighborhood, but police say they are rumors

SOUTHWEST, Mich. (WXYZ) - A community gathers to try and stop what they said are multiple rapes and murders in their neighborhood, but police said the stories are fueled by rumors.

People living around Patton Park in southwest Detroit came together to bring light to what they said is a violent problem in their area.

"Women have been found here raped and beaten.  The most recent was a 16-year-old girl," said Gabriela Alcazar.  Alcazar is one of the organizers tonight.  She said she heard the teen's body was found down the street after being attacked. 

"From what we hear from the neighbors around here this is not the first time that this has happened or things like this have happened," said Alcazar.

They believe four women were raped and three of them were killed and now are trying to raise awareness.

Detroit police officials attended the vigil to try and squash what they call rumors and said that the stories of rapes in the park are not true.  Someone did assault a woman at the park last week but police have not determined if it is a rape or not. Police think the community is getting their stories confused. 

Two weeks ago three prostitutes were raped near Michigan Avenue.  One of them had been shot and killed.  Police caught that suspect.  The community still worries there is someone on the loose.

"Violence against women affects everyone in this community every woman who walks these streets," said Alcazar.

"There's more eyes and ears out.  When that happens, people feel less able to do the things they are doing without going unseen," said Sarah Sidelko a community activist with the bicycle group Fenderbender Detroit.

A police spokesperson said that Detroit police do not believe there is a serial rapist on the loose.

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