RCMP are warning walkers and trail users to be on the alert as police continue to hunt for the man who sexually assaulted a woman in her 20s on the Galloping Goose trail near Jacklin Road in Langford early Thursday.
The woman was walking alone on Jacklin near Belmont Secondary School, on her way home from a social engagement. Just before 2 a.m., she was grabbed by a man and dragged 150 metres down the dark trail, said Island district RCMP spokesman Cpl. Darren Lagan.
The woman tried to fight off her attacker but she was overpowered, forced over the bridge that crosses the trail, and sexually assaulted in the wooded area.
After the attack, the woman ran from area and flagged down a passing motorist for help.
Police were notified and immediately flooded the area. A police dog team was called in from Saanich but was unable to find the attacker.
The woman was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and released several hours later.
She was interviewed by investigators and may be interviewed again for further information.
“At this point, the woman is with family, obviously recovering from a very traumatic situation,” Lagan said. “Medically, she is expected to make a full recovery, but the trauma from this will of course be with her for years and possibly the rest of her life.”
She is receiving support from victim services.
The man suspected of the attack is described as five-foot-five. He wore dark clothing and pants with a reflective stripe down the side of each leg.
The man may have fresh scratches on his arms, neck or upper body. It’s unclear whether he was driving a vehicle.
Police tape blocked one side of the trail near the bridge on Thursday as major crime and forensic investigators collected evidence.
Blood could be seen on the wooden bridge.
Forensic investigators focused on the wooded area beyond the bridge, drawing a line with measuring tape from the bridge into the woods.
Officers are canvassing neighbours to see if they heard any screams or cries for help.
Lagan said there are no other recent sexual assaults in the region that are similar.
“This crime is a priority investigation for my officers and we are doing everything possible to identify the man responsible for this assault,” said Insp. Larry Chomyn, who heads the West Shore RCMP.
“In the meantime, we are urging walkers and trail users throughout the region to be extra aware of their surroundings, travel in pairs or groups, and whenever possible, use well-lit routes in populated areas after dark."
Anyone with information about the assault or anyone who noticed someone suspicious in the area in the hours before or after the attack is asked to call West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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