Morgan Hill neighbors rattled after rape

December 15, 2009 10:17:41 PM PST
A woman in Morgan Hill was attacked Tuesday morning as she jogged down a popular running path. It happened on Mission View Road near Half Road -- a normally safe area in the city. Neighbors are pretty shook up.

The path is just a dirt strip off to the side of Mission View Road next to a vacant lot and an orchard, but housing developments have pushed into area and the dirt road has become a popular place to jog, until today.

In the upscale neighborhood nearest to Mission View Road, it is what neighbors are talking about.

"The news spreads fast in this neighborhood. I heard about it within an hour of it happening," said neighbor Tracy Halmos.

What has frightened Halmos and her neighbors is the rape of a 45-year-old woman who was jogging down Mission View shortly after 6 a.m.

"She turned, she felt what she believed was a knife or scissors, she looked, they were large scissors, they were pressed to her neck," said Morgan Hill Police Cmdr. Joe Sampson.

Sampson says a young man, believed to be in his teens or early 20s, grabbed the woman, pulled her across the street and into the orchard where he sexually assaulted her.

"She told detectives that this individual spoke English, but spoke what she believed was a Spanish accent," said Sampson.

The attacker told her to be quiet, raped her and ran away. The woman ran to a construction trailer where workers were just beginning to arrive.

"The construction people get here I guess really early in the morning like six o'clock in the morning," said Westmont executive director Cathy Eskandari, who works in the sales trailer next door. "And [she] ran over to the construction site and got refuge there and was pretty shaken up from what we hear."

Police say it was still dark when it happened and the woman did not get a good look at her attacker.

"He was wearing a hoody sweatshirt, about 5'8" to 5'10," very slight build," said Sampson.

Police say they are looking for witnesses, but do not have any yet.

Halmos says her friends jog here all the time, but now she won't let her 6-year-old ride his bike down this road.

"My husband is more in the fact 'Hey, he's a little boy, he needs to become independent. He can take himself to school,' and I'm 'No, I don't think so, not with what's going on in our neighborhood,'" said Halmos.

Police and neighbors say the attack is very unusual for Morgan Hill. The last time a woman was attacked by a stranger in Morgan Hill was a year ago. It's upset folks living around here.

If you have information about the attack, you're asked to call Morgan Hill Police at 1 (408) 779-2101. There is also an anonymous tipline: 1 (408) 947-STOP [7867].


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