A third suspect in the alleged gang rape of a 27-year-old female earlier this month in Anderson County was arrested Tuesday morning by Leon County sheriff’s authorities.

Dustin Matthew Huffman, 30, of Palestine was arrested around mid-morning Tuesday at a residence on Leon County Road 327 on the charge of engaging in organized criminal activity -- aggravated sexual assault, according to Troy Black, chief deputy for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

“They found him hiding in a closet in one of the bedrooms in the residence,” Black said.

Anderson County authorities had been searching for Huffman since a warrant for his arrest was issued on Sept. 11.

Black said Anderson County Crimestoppers received several tips on Monday that Huffman was in the Buffalo area.

On Tuesday morning, Leon County authorities went to a residence where Huffman was believed to be hiding, but the suspect was not at the location.

“But with additional information developed there, Leon County authorities went out” to the residence on Leon County 327 and located the wanted man, the chief deputy stated.

During the wee morning hours of Sept. 7, Anderson County authorities have said they were contacted by a 27-year-old female who reported she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by multiple males, adding that one of them attempted to run over her with a vehicle following the attack.

The alleged victim also told authorities that the men attempted to give her a “hot shot” of narcotics against her will.

Following the assault, authorities have said the woman was able to escape on foot, running with only one shoe to a nearby residence.

Four days after the alleged assault, Mark Howard Huffman, 53, and James Wesley Sherrill, 30, both of Palestine, were arrested without incident at a residence near Pat Morris Lake off of CR 2202, west of the Palestine city limits.

Mark Huffman and Sherrill also were charged with the felony offense of engaging in organized criminal activity -- aggravated sexual assault.

At the time of their arrests, Anderson County authorities said a third suspect in the crime, Dustin Huffman, remained at large, asking for the public’s help in locating the wanted man.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Dustin Huffman remained in the Leon County Jail in Centerville, according to Black.

The chief deputy said Dustin Huffman would be brought back to Anderson County soon, perhaps by the end of the week.

All three suspects are being held in lieu of a $150,000 bond.


Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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