SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A young woman told Team 10 she doesn’t remember hours of her life after a night out in Pacific Beach.
"I remember going to the bathroom and nothing after that," said a young woman who asked Team 10 to protect her identity, after she claims she was drugged inside a popular bar on the Fourth of July.
The woman's boyfriend confirmed her story. The two met his friends at a bar in Pacific Beach. They had a drink, then headed to a second spot, ordered beer in a bottle and chatted. About 10 minutes later, the 22-year-old woman got up to use the restroom, leaving her cell phone with her boyfriend.
She has no idea what happened next.
Her boyfriend told Team 10 he became concerned when she didn't return to the bar. He asked a woman to go inside the restroom to look for his girlfriend, but she wasn't there. The boyfriend said he began looking in the kitchen and other areas off-limits to customers, but his girlfriend was nowhere to be found.
He spotted a pair of San Diego Police officers outside. They told him his girlfriend might have been detained for intoxication, but it turned out to be the wrong woman.
The boyfriend then reached out to the woman's mother, who rushed to Pacific Beach to join the search.
Four hours later, more than four blocks away some passers-by spotted the woman crying incoherently. They let her borrow a cell phone. It took a long time for her to remember her mom's number. Eventually she got through, and the good samaritans told her mom she could find her daughter propped up by a concrete trash receptacle on Garnet Street, more than 4 blocks from the bar where she was last seen.
She appeared to be wasted.
The woman's mother told Team 10 her daughter was so out of it she couldn't hold up her head. She recalled her daughter was emotional and she kept saying "don't leave me" and repeatedly said she'd been drugged.
The next day wasn't much better. The woman said it was "much more than a hangover". She continued to feel sick and disoriented. Then her mother got a call back from a police officer she'd contacted the night before. The two discussed the possibility that the young woman had been drugged. Unfortunately, it was too late to have her blood tested to see if a date rape drug was in her system.
That information further traumatized the woman, who began thinking about what might have happened to her. "Just being kidnapped, raped or...." her voice trailed off as her voice quavered.
The woman told Team 10 she was not sexually assaulted. Her only injury was a bruise on one of her legs.
San Diego Police say they're not seeing an increase in the use of date rape drugs like GHB and rohypnol or "roofies" but Tracie Arlington says she has. Arlington is the founder of Play it Safe Defense Strategies for Women and Children.
"Every single class, there’s somebody that comes forward," Arlington said. Many of her students sign up for self-defense classes after they were attacked. Some of them didn't know they were attacked until hours after the fact. “It’s frightening...Typically you’re unconscious for 4-6 hours depending on the dosage and your body weight, but I’ve had victims tell me, most of the time what I hear is, I was sick for days."
“They wake up the next day. They have no memory of what happened, and so that’s why they don’t report it," said Arlington, who encouraged anyone who is unsure about what happened to go to a hospital and get tested.
Arlington advises woman to use the buddy system. "The minute you start feeling sick to your stomach, nauseated, dizzy, that’s the time to grab somebody." If you don't have a friend with you and you start to feel sick, Arlington says you should tell someone in the bathroom to get you help. She also suggested downloading a phone app that will text your circle of friends with your location when activated.
"Never take a drink from a stranger," Arlington said, adding that you should watch your drink being made to make sure nothing extra is dropped in. If you hit the dance floor, Arlington said you should either take your drink with you, or abandon it. "The other day a woman told me that she never goes out on a date unless her date drinks out of her drink first. I thought that was pretty smart, too.”