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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Foiled Sexual Assault May Be Linked to Serial Rapist

November 11, 2000|KATIE COOPER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SIMI VALLEY — Police are searching for a suspected rapist who fled from the home of a 29-year-old woman after she fought back a sexual assault Thursday night.

Authorities have not yet determined whether the attack is linked to the serial rapist who has prowled the streets of this city for more than four years.

But police said that the timing and location of the attack are consistent with the unsolved cases of rape and sexual assault linked to the serial rapist. And the description of the suspect in Thursday's assault bears some similarity to the man wanted in connection with 12 attacks since the summer of 1996.

In Thursday's attack, a Latino man wearing a blue sweatshirt and sweatpants broke into the woman's home in west Simi Valley about 11:30 p.m, police said. He was described as being in his late 20s, about 5 feet 10 and 165 pounds.

The man confronted the woman in a hallway and attempted to sexually assault her, said Simi Valley Police Lt. Andy McCluskey.

She struggled with him, eventually biting one of his fingers. The man fled in an unknown direction.

The woman suffered cuts and bruises, police said.

Because the victim was attacked in her home at night, and because the man was described as having a medium build, detectives are investigating whether the case can be tied to the serial rapist.

The attempted assault occurred approximately a mile from the last attack linked to the serial rapist, in August.

But the victim's age and her description of the assailant as Latino are a divergence from those cases. The man believed to be the serial rapist has typically been described as white. The victims have generally been young women and girls ranging from the mid-teens to mid-20s.

"There are some similarities, but there are some dissimilarities," McCluskey said. "We're not going to rush to any conclusions."

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