The West Shore RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit is looking for potential witnesses who may have information on a suspect in a sexual assault that happened early Thursday morning on a section of the Galloping Goose Trail in Langford.
A woman in her early 20s, was walking down Jacklin Road from Sooke Road toward Belmont secondary around 2 a.m. after attending a social gathering. As she neared the Galloping Goose Trail on a dimly lit section of Jacklin, she was grabbed from behind by a man. She attempted to fight off the attacker, but was overpowered and dragged 100 metres down the trail toward a bridge, where the man sexually assaulted her.
The woman fled the area and flagged down a passing vehicle on Jacklin Road. Police were called immediately and flooded the area with officers and a dog team, but the suspect was not found.
“It’s rare for the location and rare for the CRD in general,” said Cpl. Darren Lagan, spokesman for the Island District RCMP. “It’s very concerning to us since this was stranger on stranger.”
The woman was taken to Victoria General Hospital for treatment and released several hours later.
While the darkness and the fact the assailant came from behind prevented the woman from getting a good look at his face, she was able to give police some descriptors. The man is about five foot five, was wearing dark clothing, including pants with a reflective stripe down each leg.
A key element is he may have fresh wounds on his upper body.
“(The woman) put up the best fight she could, so he will likely have scratches on his upper body and arms,” Lagan said.
Investigators are reaching out to staff at area businesses, especially those open 24 hours, looking for possible tips on the man’s identity, he added.
In the meantime, trail users are being advised to travel in pairs, regardless of gender.
“There needs to be a heightened sense of awareness of personal safety,” Lagan said. “I think everyone needs to be vigilant (while the search is on).”
Anyone who may have seen a man matching the description between the evening hours of Wednesday (June 25) and the early morning hours of Thursday is asked to call West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or anonymously to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222 TIPS (8477).