Palo Alto Jogger Escapes Sexual Assault

By Amanda Hochmuth
|  Tuesday, Jun 4, 2013  |  Updated 3:16 PM PDT
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Police are searching for a man who groped a woman as she jogged along the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. Christie Smith reports.

Police are searching for a man who groped a woman as she jogged along the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. Christie Smith reports.

 A woman was attacked Sunday morning as she jogged on a trail at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. Now, police are looking for the suspect, described as a 20-something with buzzed hair, and two bicyclists who witnessed the crime.

Late Tuesday they released a sketch of the man (see below).

The victim, in her 30s, was jogging northbound about half a mile north of the Baylands Athletic Center around 10:50 a.m. when a man jumped on her from behind, Palo Alto police said.  She managed to keep her balance and stay on her feet, but she said the man groped her over her clothing while she tried to fight him off. 
 
The woman pushed the man away as two bicyclists approached them on the path, police said. The suspect then ran northbound and was last seen running over the bridge towards East Palo Alto. The bicyclists stopped to check on the woman before leaving the scene. 
 
According to police, the woman said she noticed the man following her for approximately three miles before the attack. She stopped three times during the jog to allow the man to pass, but each time he also stopped and remained behind her.
 
Police interviewed another witness who claimed to have seen the same suspect earlier in the morning exiting the men’s restroom at the Baylands Athletic Center. The witness, a woman in her 40s, said the man also followed her along the same stretch of trail where the attack later occurred.
 
One jogger, Mina Patel, told NBC Bay Area that the news was "shocking" and made her a bit more hesitant to be out at the normally tranquil area.
 
The suspect has been described as Latino or African American, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds.  He was clean shaven and wore clear studded earrings in both ears. He also wore long blue shorts, a plain white T-shirt and white tennis shoes.

 Anyone with information regarding the incident can call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can also be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

 NBC Bay Area's Christie Smith contributed to this report.

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