A statewide manhunt has now focused on an Interstate 5 rest stop in northern San Diego County.
Contra Costa County investigators have been following the cell phone signal of violent serial rapist Stephen Clark.
The 45-year-old man was with an ex-girlfriend at the rest stop just south of Las Pulgas exit around 6 p.m. Wednesday when California Highway Patrol officers drove through the parking area.
Officers said Clark jumped over a fence and started to run.
A rape victim in the Bay Area identified Clark as the man who bound, gagged and threatened to kill her week officials said.
When Clark spotted the officers approaching him Wednesday, he told his ex-girlfriend that he didn’t want to get her involved in his situation but that she needed to jump over the fence and run with him.
When interviewed by CHP, the woman told them she and Clark had traveled to San Diego to spend time at the beach. She said she had no idea he was suspected of a brutal rape in the Bay Area.
Investigators believe it was just a ploy so he could get close to the U.S. Mexico border so he could get out of the country.
The rest area was closed to the public for several hours as CHP and San Diego County Sheriff's investigators searched for Clark.
A helicopter helped in the search but eventually officers called off the search when Clark was not located.
Officers did seize Clark’s 1994 blue-green Dodge Intrepid at the rest stop.
The Contra Costa County victim is in critical condition. Clark threatened to kill the victim with a semi-automatic handgun and two hunting knives.
According to the warrant for Clark’s arrest, he is a serial rapist who has committed crimes in Texas.
His drivers license describes Clark as 6’1”, 200 lbs with blond hair and blue eyes.
Check back for updates on this developing story.