SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Police are searching for a man accused of raping a woman at Sutter's Landing Regional Park and attempting to rape a second woman not far away on the American River bike trail.
On Sunday around 6:34 p.m., police were notified of a sexual assault in the area of Sutter's Landing Regional Park. Officers arrived on the scene and learned the attack happened just south of the American River. The victim was able to get away from the man and did not suffer physical injuries, according to a Sacramento Police Department statement on Twitter.
Then, at around 7:25 p.m., while investigating the first sexual assault, officers learned of a separate similar incident nearby. The suspect had attempted to rape a woman nearby on the bike trail, under Interstate 80, just south of the American River.
The victim in that attack was also able to get away from the suspect.
Officers determined the suspect was the same man in both incidents.
After a thorough search of the area by foot and by air, the suspect was not located. He was reportedly last seen heading westbound from the area, say police.
Detectives and CSI were called to the scene to take over the investigation.
The suspect is described as approximately 20-30 years-old, about approximately 5'9"", heavy set, with green eyes, and dark hair. He speaks Spanish and English, but with a Spanish accent. Police released video of the suspect wearing only underwear of a Speedo-type bathing suit.
The suspect was also seen wearing jeans and carrying a green t-shirt. Detectives believe there may be potential witnesses who observed the suspect during these incidents, including a man who was on a bicycle in the area at the time of at least one attack.
Some people who run and walk on the river trail told CBS13 they were taking extra precautions Monday morning.
"Actually today is actually the first day I'm carrying pepper spray," a woman named Beth told CBS13. "I am at a little disconcerted by the news of yesterday afternoon."
This remains an active investigation and detectives are requesting assistance from the community to identify the suspect.
Other people along the trail said they'd be running new routes until the suspect is caught.
"I didn't hear about the most recent attack. But I'll probably be turning around and heading in another direction today," Sydney Barloon said.
Barloon said she's always had some unsettling feelings about running this area alone.
"I grew up in Orange County and I've got friends always asked how much time you spend on the river. But truthfully I don't always feel that safe coming down here alone," Barloon said.
Detectives encourage any witnesses with information pertaining to these incidents to contact the dispatch center at (916) 808-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357) or submit an anonymous tip using the free "P3 Tips" smartphone app. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000. #sacpd
Despite the growing concern, some hope these alleged attacks don't deter people from going to the American River.
"Like one person is not going to ruin it. Since police are out there looking for him constantly and they have his picture around, I feel like he's going to be less inclined to come back to the same spot," Allie Forsling said.
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