ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage police say an online relationship turned sour Wednesday when a woman from rural Alaska was sexually assaulted by a Point Lay man after the two met in Anchorage.
According to APD spokesperson Lt. Dave Parker, the 19-year-old woman met 31-year-old Keith Tracey on the Internet about six months ago. After the two decided to meet in person, Tracey bought plane tickets to Anchorage for both the victim and himself; they booked hotel rooms at the Puffin Inn on Aug. 29 and the Dimond Center Hotel on Aug. 30.
The woman told officers Tracey gave her alcohol Wednesday, then became angry about something she’d said and strangled her until she thought she was going to die. He allegedly beat her with his fists and forced her to have sex with him, despite her objecting and attempting to fight him off.
Investigators say online relationships pose greater degrees of risk than those started in person, especially when travel is involved.
“When you met someone on the Internet you go into the relationship blindly. On the web, people often create false identities,or disguise their true personalities,” said Detective John Vandervalk, a 10-year veteran of APD’s Special Victims Unit. “When Internet daters finally meet their Internet friend in person, often they are alone and find themselves in a very vulnerable situation. Any relationship can go sour but due to the anonymity offered by the Internet, relationships begun there can be especially dangerous.”
Tracey was arrested Wednesday on charges of first-degree and second-degree sexual assault. He is being held on $50,000 bail.