Apparently aware that everyone sounds more like a dangerous suspect when their middle name is in play, the San Francisco Police Department has identified the man accused of attempting to kidnap a teen as Lee Mason Eigl, a 27-year-old man who lives with his mother in the Inner Sunset.
As previously reported, the abduction attempt occurred at around 5 p.m. Wednesday, on Forest Side Avenue in West Portal. According to the SFPD, the 13-year-old female victim was walking down the street when Eigl allegedly grabbed her and attempted to force her into his car. The girl's screams alerted nearby witnesses, who came to the child's aid, as the suspect sped off.
Witnesses that got a partial plate number and surveillance video from the scene helped police identify the black Volkswagen Passat used by the suspect, KTVU reports. Police circulated the vehicle information, and here's where the situation gets a little hazy: according to SFPD's statement on the arrest:
At approximately 10:30 PM, two Taraval officers spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the kidnapping. The vehicle was located in the Taraval District. The officers subsequently conducted a felony stop on the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle, 26 year-old San Francisco resident Lee Mason Eigl, was positively identified as the suspect involved in the kidnapping. Eigl was taken into custody without incident and was booked for kidnapping and assault with intent to commit rape on a person under 18 years old.
But, according to the Chron, when officers first spotted the car at 10:30, they only "followed him for a while."
Eigl’s mother, a teacher for the San Francisco Unified School District, said police came to her door at 12:30 a.m. Thursday asking for her son. She said she told police that he was at a friend’s house and that she immediately called him on his cell phone and both she and police officers spoke to him.
Eigl told officers he would drive to Taraval Police Station to be questioned, his mother said. As he was heading there, the officers who were following him pulled him over and arrested him, his mother said.
He was arrested at around 1 a.m., KTVU quotes Assistant Chief Toney Chaplin as saying, after "he emerged from a residence" at an apartment complex near SF State "and started to drive the vehicle."
Gail Eigl, whose residence near 10th Avenue and Lincoln Way was searched following her son's arrest, spoke to multiple news outlets gathered outside her home Thursday. "He was driving into Taraval station to try to talk to them. He was not given a lawyer at any time. He was read his Miranda, he said he had been drinking a little bit and smoking marijuana and he was out of it."
Clearly agitated by an unimaginable situation for any parent, Gail Eigl told a reporter who asked if she was surprised by the allegations, "yeah, yeah, every single person I've talked to..." then, sarcastically, "Yeah, I knew I was hiding a closet rapist in my house! Yeah. Yeah."
A teacher with SFUSD, Eigl declined to offer an immediate defense of her son, saying “The only thing I can think of is the Brock (Turner) case. I don’t want to be one of those parents, like, ‘Oh he’s such a special boy.’ Of course, I love him dearly and I hope that they’re wrong.”
“I have never seen him do anything like this,” Gail Eigl said. “He has a loving girlfriend."
The Chron reports that Lee Eigl attended San Francsico's Galileo High School and graduated from San Diego State in 2013 with a civil engineering degree. He was most recently employed at BKF Engineers, a company that provides infrastructure planning, but had been laid off in August of 2016. As of publication time, he remains in San Francisco County Jail, with bail set at $400,000.