ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – The attack on a high school girl running along the High Line Canal Trail Monday night is being investigated as an assault and unlawful sexual contact, and authorities have released a description of the suspect.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office released new details about the attack on Tuesday, a day after it happened.
The sheriff’s office says the girl was tackled on the trail near the 1600 block of S. Quebec Way. When she was tackled, she and her attacker rolled down an embankment into the canal below.
The girl was able to fight the man off by kicking him and screaming, the sheriff’s office says, but the man fled south in the canal bed.
Authorities say the girl suffered “serious bodily injury” in the attack.
"She was bruised pretty good. She had a little blood on her shirt, she had red marks on her arms where she was grabbed," said Michael Blackmon who lives nearby and helped the teen call police.
Blackmon said he and his wife, Stephanie, were at home watching television when they heard a frantic knock at their front door.
"Immediately me and my wife tried to console her but she was pretty shook up," said Blackmon.
The Blackmons helped her call 911 and get in touch with her parents. They said they were shocked when the young girl told them she had been tackled from behind while jogging on the trail.
"She hit the ground and they started rolling and she kicked him a couple of times and then he started hitting her in her head," said Blackmon.
"We were just glad we were here," said Stephanie.
"There's a predator out there and he needs to be stopped," said Blackmon.
The suspect is described as a white man with a medium build and no facial hair. He is estimated as being 5-foot-10 or 6-feet tall, and was wearing a dark sweatshirt and black beanie during the attack. The sheriff’s office says the girl estimated the man was in his 20s.
The sheriff’s office says both it and DPD have reviewed prior calls and found there have been no other similar attacks in the area recently.
But it advises people to be aware of other loitering on the trail, not to run alone, and to carry a phone if possible when using the trail or running at night.
The sheriff’s office asks anyone with more information on the assault to call them at 303-795-4711.