Mud-covered naked couple claim to be robbed, stripped, forced into Charleston harbor

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The night auditor of a downtown Charleston inn was visited by two unusual guests Nov. 23, a naked couple covered in mud who claimed to have been robbed, stripped and pushed into the harbor.

According to a police report, the naked couple arrived at the front door of the Harborview Inn around 2:15 a.m. Nov. 23 and claimed they had been robbed and thrown into the harbor.

The alleged victims, 20-year-old John Shafer and 19-year-old College of Charleston student Penelope Murray, told police they had traveled to Waterfront Park some time after midnight and were sitting at the end of the pier there.

According to the couple, there were two other couples at the pier when they arrived, but one of them left around 1:15 a.m., leaving the victims with a black couple. The black male suspect approached the victims, asking for the time before walking a short distance away, the report stated.

The victims described the man as being in his mid- to late-20s, about 5-feet 7-inches tall and stocky with a goatee. The woman with him was also black and had blonde braids.

Murray told police she heard one of the suspects say, "Okay, we're gonna do it."

The two alleged assailants then approached the victims. The female assailant attacked Murray, grabbing her by the hair and punching her in the face. Meanwhile, the male suspect and Shafer started fighting. Shafer was hit several times in the face, and he retaliated by biting his assailant in the hand, the report stated.

According to the report, he was unclear if he bit his attacker's left or right hand.

Shafer and Murray told police both attackers claimed to have a knife, but they never saw one during the tussle. However, "in fear of their lives" the two victims quit fighting back and surrendered to the other couple.

The victims were then ordered to hand over their money and cell phones. Shafer had a black iPhone 3G and Murray had a red Nokia phone, the report stated. Murray also gave up a silver ring.

Both victims handed over their debit cards.

The female attacker, upon seeing the couple was not carrying cash, said, "We're gonna have to kill you."

Then Murray and Shafer were ordered to disrobe. Their clothes were thrown into Charleston harbor, and the attackers pushed Shafer and then Murray into the water.

The couple told police they were not sure how long they waited in the harbor waters for their assailants to leave before they climbed out of the mud and ran to the Harborview Inn on Vendue Range.

Officers noted several cuts and bruises on the victims and they were treated by EMS, but neither person wanted to be transported to the hospital for further treatment.

Crime scene investigators found items left at Waterfront Park that belonged to the victims and located their clothes in the water. They were not, however, able to retrieve the clothes.

Murray wrote about the experience in one of her blogs.

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