Rape suspect wanted in Santa Cruz

August 19, 2008 11:49:55 AM PDT
Santa Cruz police are looking for a man who raped a woman on a river levee. They describe the suspect as having a strong French accent.

This sexual attack happened in Santa Cruz early Saturday morning, but its taken police a few days to publicly talk about it as they gathered more information and completed a sketch. Investigators are worried the suspect is a flight-risk if he's from France - so they're asking for the public's help.

Police say the rape suspect gave his name as "Pierre" and speaks in a strong French accent. He's described as a white man in his mid-20s, six-feet tall, 180-pounds with a thin build. He has brown hair and eyes, with slightly crossed front teeth.

Santa Cruz police say the victim is a 23-year-old Contra Costa County resident. She had gone with friends to an unnamed bar on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz.

The woman left the bar with the suspect she met there to go for a walk to the beach around 1:00 am Saturday. Police say the man sexually attacked the woman along the way on the San Lorenzo River levee. Even though investigators have a good suspect description, they say it may be a tough case to solve because they believe the suspect is a tourist, since he and another man entered the bar that night using French passports.

"Our main concern though is just the fact that he could be out of the country at this point. We know he was visiting, obviously with using a French passport. We don't know if he's still in the area at all, whether he's still in a major city like San Francisco or San Jose, or he's just gone altogether," said Santa Cruz Spokesperson Zach Friend.

Police are looking for any more details about the suspect in surveillance footage from the bar and surrounding businesses; they're even willing to pursue him to France if they find out who he is.


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