Woman attacked, sexually assaulted at Alton Baker park
EUGENE, Ore. - Eugene Police are asking for the public's help in finding a suspect in a sexual assault.
"This was a daytime thing," Eugene Police Sergeant Dale Dawson said Monday. "It was a beautiful day at the park yesterday."
Just before 11 a.m. on Sunday, a woman's walk in the park turned violent.
"She said that a male had come up behind her, grabbed her, hit her several times," Sgt. Dawson said, "then sexually assaulted her right there in the park at the bike path."
Sgt. Dawson said the crime was out in the open, in broad daylight.
"That was actually really surprising to me," Sgt. Dawson said.
The attacker left the scene.
The victim took herself to a local hospital where she was treated for injuries.
She was also tested with a rape kit for a possible DNA match.
"Under state code: it's unlawful sexual penetration," Sgt. Dawson said. "And it's a sexual assault but rape? No, I wouldn't classify it directly as that."
Sgt. Dawson calls Alton Baker park a safe place that he routinely runs at.
Others like Paula Luginbuhl are starting to feel differently.
"Concerned, disturbed," Luginbuhl said. "I'm here twice a week running with my son, so it's unsettling I guess."
Luginbuhl has been walking here for a year and a half without a problem.
"I don't know, I don't want to live in fear and not do the things I usually do but maybe be more aware," Luginbuhl said.
Now, Luginbuhl said she's starting to rethink which way she travels.
The suspect is described as a white male in his thirtes.
6'4" or taller with a medium build and shaggy brown hair.
He was last seen wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt and brown vest similar to a fishing vest.
If you have any information, please contact the Eugene Police Department.
EUGENE POLICE SAFETY TIPS
- Do not get into someone’s car even if they display a weapon. It is better to fight back in the street where help is closer at hand and other people may hear your calls for help.
- Walk confidently and don’t avoid eye contact
- Don’t let strangers into your ‘space.’ Keep plenty of distance between yourself and people you don’t wish to approach you.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and eliminate distractions or items that limit your ability to scan your environment
- Don’t stop to talk with strangers asking for directions or other types of help as this can be a ploy to get close for an attack.
- If you feel you are in danger or being followed, call 9-1-1
- If grabbed, fight back and make as much noise as possible.
- Use the buddy system when walking after dark or in ‘fringe’ areas, which are places there are fewer people travelling, allowing them a chance to victimize you without chancing witnesses. You should know the person you are walking with well enough to trust them.
- Walk in lighted areas as much as possible and don’t walk too close to bushes, alleyways or other places where attackers can conceal themselves.