Police searching for suspect of attempted rape at Hines Park

- A 28-year-old woman was sexually assaulted on Sunday while jogging in Edward Hines Park.

Livonia police responded to a report at about 7:25 p.m. regarding a woman jogging eastbound on the park's bicycle path west of Levan.

"She is doing fine she just had some very minor injuries. She did not need to go to the hospital so fortunately that way she is OK," said Capt. Robert Nenciarini of Livonia police.

The suspect was walking the opposite direction on the bike path and attacked her as she attempted to jog past him.

Police said he wrapped an arm around her neck and struck the woman on the side of the face.

He struggled to drag her toward the Rouge River, attempting to remove her clothes.

Police said the man told the victim he wanted to have sex with her.

The woman was able to break free from the suspect, who then ran off eastbound on Edward Hines Drive bicycle path.

She was then able to attract the attention of a passing driver and used his phone to call police.

"I'm like oh my God! I was just was jut walking here a few days before," said Lori Vanark-Smith.

She's on guard now more than ever. She claims a man tried to follow her a couple days before, while she was walking alone through the same park.

Luckily, someone warned her in time.

"Some rollerblader came by me and said, 'Did you see that white car? 'I said, 'well yeah, I looked and I couldn't see the guy that was in it, but he said it was an older gentlemen and he said he has been following you," she said.

It's not clear if it was the same man.

Livonia police searched the area but were unable to find the suspect.

The suspect is described as a black male between 28 and 30 years old, about 5'10" and 180 lbs. He has a muscular build, short dark hair and is clean shaven. The man was wearing a tight-fitting black or gray compression style shirt and dark-colored cargo shorts.

Although this is a busy park, police say the victim was running alone in a somewhat secluded section -- something police do not recommend.

"In this case, with her fighting him off, that seemed to be the right move for her -- it scared him away. I would recommend that she try to run with a friend -- people run in pairs, carry your cell phone, which she wasn't doing," Nenciarini said.

Those with information about the incident should call the Livonia Police Department at (734) 446-2470.


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