A young woman was attacked and sexually assaulted while jogging on the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda Sunday evening, sparking a police search for her attacker.
The 21-year-old woman was jogging on a stretch of trail between MacArthur Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue when she stopped to allow a group of deer to cross the trail at approximately 7 p.m., said Montgomery County police spokeswoman Angela Cruz. As she was preparing to continue jogging, the woman was struck on the head from behind and knocked unconscious, police said.
Awaking a short time later, the victim found herself a short distance off the trail in a wooded area, but was able to flag down another jogger, a 40-year-old man, who escorted her to a nearby house in the 4900 block of Brooke Way Drive to call the police, Cruz said. While the woman said she was unconscious, responding detectives believe she was sexually assaulted by the suspect, Cruz said.
“There is indication and she believes that she was, there was a sexual assault, but we’re just not sure to what degree,” Cruz said.
The victim remained in serious but stable condition at a local hospital Monday morning where she was able to speak with police, even giving them details regarding her attacker, Cruz said.
“All we have so far is one white male in his 20s wearing dark clothing,” Cruz said. “She was hit on the head from behind but we can’t speculate on what she was hit with or if a weapon was used.”
The woman was not robbed, Cruz added. So far police do not believe the assault was in any way related to three previous assaults and attempted robberies that took place in the Wisconsin Avenue tunnel on a nearby section of the trail since July 6. Detectives have made three arrests, closing two of those cases and the suspects in the previous cases were four teenage males, Cruz said.
“The suspect descriptions look different but that’s something that detectives always look into,” Cruz said.
In the meantime, detectives are asking anyone with information about the sexual assault to contact the department’s Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. Anonymous tips may also be called in to Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-8477. Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest or indictment in the case.