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Investigators recover knife in morning trail attack

by AMANDA WINTERS

July 23, 2012

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is requesting the public’s help in finding a man who attacked a woman on the Discovery Trail near the Dungeness River on Saturday morning.

 

According to Sheriff’s deputies, at about 8:30 a.m. July 21 a 22-year-old Sequim woman was attacked while riding a bicycle west of the Dungeness River on the trail near the parking area off Runnion Road.

The woman was riding her bicycle eastbound as she approached a man wearing a black or charcoal-colored hoodie walking with his back to her. When she told him she was passing to his left, he stepped to the left. When she announced she was passing to his right, he stepped right, Det. Sgt. Lyman Moores said. As she passed the man he turned and grabbed her, knocking her and her bicycle to the ground.

 

The man, wearing a red, white and black Halloween mask, jumped on her and held her arms to her side as she kicked and “screamed bloody murder,” Moores said.

 

The attacker paused for a moment as though he was going to stop, then began to try to subdue her again. But she didn’t stop fighting and eventually he stood up, put his hands in the air as if to say, “I give up,” Moores said.

 

Neighbors heard the screaming and came out of their houses and the attacker fled, pulling off his mask as he ran to the parking lot off Runnion Road. The woman, described as a physically fit college graduate with ROTC training, was not seriously injured and did not require any medical attention, deputies said.

 

“The lesson is to never stop fighting,” Moores said. “These people are cowards or they wouldn’t be wearing masks.”

 

A large, unique knife was found at the scene. It has a blade etched with depictions of eagles and other birds and a handle embellished with small jewels and made of what appears to be ivory carved to look like a wing and the head of a raptor.

 

The suspect is described as a white man in his early 20s, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, wearing a black or charcoal-colored hooded sweatshirt and long khaki shorts. He was wearing a red, black and white Halloween-style mask but removed it as he fled the scene, revealing short light brown or blond  hair, deputies said.

 

He got into a light blue to gray early 1990s or 1980s Honda or Toyota Camry style passenger car and fled. A full-sized light-colored van left the parking lot after the suspect fled.

 

The Sheriff’s Office is requesting that anyone with information regarding this incident contact Detective Tom Reyes at the Sheriff’s Office at 417-2259. Detectives are interested in learning more about the knife, identifying the suspect, and identifying and interviewing the driver of the van.

 

“The Discovery Trail is a popular and heavily used pedestrian and cycle path which runs many miles through Clallam County,” Undersheriff Ron Peregrin said in a news release.  “Citizens should remain alert and remember that although we live in a relatively safe community, there are persons in the community that may do others harm. Please be vigilant and take measures to protect yourself, such as a companion, a safety whistle, personal protective equipment, and the proper mindset to help thwart an attack.”
Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

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