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Jogger attacked on Provo River Trail


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PROVO — Provo police are asking for the public's help to find a man they say attacked a jogger along the Provo River Trail.

Police say around 9 p.m. Monday a 20-year-old woman was jogging alone along the trail. When she reached the area of 970 West and 800 North, a man grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes.

"He pulled a knife out and said he was going to 'fix her face,'" said Sgt. Matthew Siufanua of the Provo Police Department. "At that time, he actually sexually assaulted her. He actually took the knife he had and cut her several places in the face, arms and body area."

The woman fought back and escaped. Doctors found her wounds to be superficial and say she should make a full recovery.

Sgt. Siufanua said, "Right now it looks like it might have been planned and that he was waiting for her. Or he could have been waiting for any jogger that was coming by. We're not exactly sure."

The woman has described her attacker as a Caucasian or Hispanic male wearing black shoes, black sweatpants and a black, hooded sweatshirt with the drawstring pulled tight, covering most of his face. She said the man was between 6 feet and 6 feet 1 inches tall and between 180 and 190 pounds.

The trail was the site of another attack in June 2010. In that incident, a Utah Valley University student was raped, beaten and left for dead by Shawn Michael Leonard, who was in jail but out for a work release program.

Leonard was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but many still expressed concerns about the riverside trail that is heavily forested in areas. Siufanua said a number of measures have been undertaken to address safety concerns, including daily patrols of the trail by police officers and the installation of cameras.

Police are urging women to always run with a partner and to never run alone at night. They also encourage women to carry a cellphone and take precautions to keep themselves safe.

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Contributing: Sam Penrod

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Randall Jeppesen

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