Woman attacked along Riverwalk, deputies ask for public's help

Woman attacked along Riverwalk, deputies ask for public's help

CREATED Dec. 18, 2012

Reporter: Cory Marshall

TUCSON(KGUN9-TV) - The Rillito Riverwalk is a busy area for bikers, walkers and joggers. River regulars say the stretch is normally a safe and peaceful pathway. Thursday night, that wasn't the case.

According to Pima County Sheriff's Deputies, Thursday evening, a man jumped a young woman from behind. The attack happened while the woman was jogging on the riverwalk between La Cholla and La Canada. Sheriff's Deputies say the attacker then tried to drag her into the nearby wash below, striking her several times.

Deputies tell 9OYS the young woman had been running alone and wearing earphones at the time of the attack.

The woman fought off her attacker but not without injuries. Deputies have called the attack an attempted sexual assault.

Christina Janton walks the Riverwalk everyday with her dog, Dakota, " I won't be out at this hour anymore. I'll probably try to go a little earlier and if I can't get someone else to go with me and the dog, I probably won't for a while go by myself," Janton said.

Like Janton, many who make the Riverwalk part of their daily routine are shocked by the attack.

"You see the same faces on this path day after day, but you also see new faces and I think we like to trust that everyone is good and everyone is kind," avid walker, Rebekah Belanger told 9OYS.

Since last week's attack, Deputies have ramped up patrol along the Riverwalk and in neighboring areas . The PCSO is pleadingwith the public, asking everyone to pay attention to their surroundings.

The attacker is described as a medium height male with facial hair. He may have been wearing a bulky winter jacket with a hood.