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A Female Runner Fights off a Man Who Attempted to Rape Her on a Park Trail off Canal Road

By Barbara A. Preston | May 17, 2022 — Updated May 18 to include composite sketch.

Police are looking for a short, heavy-set man on a small bike, wearing a green hoodie, according to an automated telephone message sent to Montgomery Township residents and businesses. The man allegedly attempted to rape a woman on Monday, May 16, at 6:03 pm.

The victim was running on a public trail near Blackwells Mills and Canal roads in Franklin Township. Known as Six Mile Run Park, the trail is popular with local hikers, mountain-bikers, runners, and equestrians.

Police said an unknown man got off his bicycle and tackled a woman to the ground when she was running on a trail. The female victim fought with the male suspect as he attempted to sexually assault her. The victim was able to fight her attacker and escape from the assault, immediately notifying authorities by dialing 9-1-1.

A forensic artist assigned to the New Jersey State Police Forensic Imaging Unit produced this composite sketch of the alleged suspect. It was released to the public by authorities on May 18 in an

effort to generate leads. The public is urged not to confront the suspect if he is known to

them and to notify the proper authorities.

A pathway at Six Mile Run along Canal Road in Franklin Township.

Upon arrival, officers met with an adult female victim, who reported being assaulted by an unknown male while she was running on the trail. Franklin Township police worked with officers from Hillsborough Township, South Brunswick, and Montgomery Township to establish a perimeter in an attempt to locate the suspect. Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, Sex Crimes Unit, Crime Scene Investigations Unit and New Jersey State Park Police responded to conduct the investigation.

Somerset County detectives are drafting a composite sketch, which should be released soon. The prosecutor's office is also looking a DNA collected from the victim, and will be comparing it to DNA from recent sexual assaults that occurred — including one on the Delaware & Raritan Canal Park path in Kingston in September and another other in Duke Island Park in Bridgewater in July.

The suspect in each case had a similar description.

Map of Six Mile Run pathways.

Somerset County Acting Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart is requesting the public's assistance. Anybody who who observed any individual matching the description provided by the victim should contact authorities.

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Anyone with information relating to the sexual assault should contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Sex Crimes Unit at 908.231.7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at 908.873.5533 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.


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