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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 7:27 pm | Fair 56º


Sheriff’s Detectives Searching for Suspect in Sexual Assault

The victim reports being attacked by a man while walking in a Carpinteria park

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday that it’s searching for a suspect in a reported sexual-assault attack Monday on a woman walking in Carpinteria.

Department spokesman Drew Sugars said the woman told deputies she was walking on a designated walk area within the park at Bailard and Carpinteria avenues about 8:30 p.m. when a man approached her as he masturbated.

The victim told police that she kicked the suspect in the groin as he tried to get closer, and that he fled across the parking lot before quickly turning around to approach the victim again. She stumbled while trying to leave the area by walking backward. The suspect grabbed her but then fled again toward the cliff, and the victim used her cell phone to call 9-1-1, according to Sugars.

Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter and called in a K-9 unit to search the area. The suspect was not located, but the K-9 found bicycle tracks along the cliff area that possibly came from the suspect.

Sugars said the suspect was described as an Hispanic male in his 30s, 5 feet 10 inches tall with a thin build and short black hair, and wearing dark pants and a dark, long-sleeved shirt.

According to Sugars, the sheriff’s department believes the suspect may be the same man who allegedly masturbated in front of two girls, ages 12 and 15, on July 17 in the 5400 block of Eighth Street, and in front of a woman on July 19 on Elm Avenue at Juniper Place.

Anyone with information about the suspect or the crimes is asked to call the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 805.681.4171 or detectives at 805.684.4561.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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