20-year-old fends off an attacker who held her to the ground and struck her torso multiple times
A man in a black ski mask attacked a 20-year-old woman north of Oregon State University campus on Saturday evening as she was walking from her front door to her car parked in the driveway, Corvallis police spokesman Capt. Dave Henslee said.
Police believe that the man may have been responsible for a Jan. 15 attack on another 20-year-old woman that occurred less than a mile away on Oregon State University campus at 10:10 at night.
“Both attacks are similar in nature and police will continue to investigate the possibility both crimes were committed by the same individual,” Henslee said.
On Saturday, a masked man tackled the woman from behind, held her to the ground and struck her multiple times in the torso. He ran off after she put up a fight, Henslee said. The incident occurred about 7:30 p.m. near the intersection of Northwest 29th Street and Northwest Fillmore Avenue.
Police did not release the victim’s name or indicate whether she was an OSU student.
The victim in the attack on Jan. 15 was also not named, but investigating agency Oregon State Police said that the woman was not an OSU student. She reported that a man came up from behind her, struck her on the head and then attempted to remove her clothing after she fell to the ground. He ran off after she kicked him in the face. OSP reported that he may have suffered a nose injury or black eye.
In both incidents, law enforcement personnel attempted to track the culprit with a canine unit.
The victim Saturday described her attacker as a white male, 6 feet to 6-feet-3-inches tall with an athletic build and dark eyelashes. He wore a black ski mask with one hole for both eyes, black athletic-style pants, white shoes, and a dark navy blue or black hooded pullover sweatshirt. The back of the sweatshirt contained a white circle with cursive writing that extended from the lower left side of the circle, across the center, and to the upper right.
The attacker in the Jan. 15 incident was described as a white male in his early to mid-20s, 6 feet tall with a bulky build, short dark hair, thin face and bushy eyebrows. OSP released a composite sketch of the man.
The two investigating agencies are coordinating their efforts, Henslee said, and working closely together to determine if the crimes are connected.
Both incidents were reported immediately to OSU students and faculty through email.
Students and faculty occupy many of the houses and apartments in the neighborhood where Saturday’s attack took place.
OSU philosophy professor Sharyn Clough visited a colleague Sunday afternoon at a house near the scene.
In a university town like Corvallis, she wasn’t shocked at the news of the attacks. Through university notifications, however, communication about them has improved, she added.
“It seems like security is doing a better job,” she said. “It’s not clear if there’s been an increase of violence against women or if we are just made more aware.”
Cassidy McCay, a 22-year-old OSU student who was jogging in the neighborhood Sunday, said that she was not jarred by the news even though she lives a few blocks away from where Saturday’s attack took place. In her fourth year at OSU, she has heard of similar attacks in the past, she said.
“Overall, though, I still think that Corvallis is a safe place,” she said.
Henslee reminds residents to be constantly aware of their surroundings, park their vehicles and walk in well-lit areas, do not walk alone, and to walk with a purpose. In addition, Henslee urges people to report all suspicious people and behaviors to law enforcement.
The Corvallis Police Department is asking for the community’s help in investigating Saturday’s attack on a 20-year-old woman. If anyone saw someone matching the description of the suspect on Saturday near Northwest 29th Street and Northwest Fillmore Avenue, or saw suspicious or out-of-place people or vehicles in the area, contact Corvallis Police Department at 541-766-6924.
The attacker, who wore a ski mask, was described as a white male, 6 feet to 6-feet-3-inches tall with an athletic build and dark eyelashes. He wore black athletic-style pants, white shoes, and a dark navy blue or black hooded pullover sweatshirt.