Prince William police investigate sex assault in Gainesville near Lee Highway

Prince William County police are searching for a man who assaulted a 19-year-old woman in Gainesville after pushing her down an embankment Wednesday.

Authorities said the man, who police believe is 25 to 35 years old, approached the woman from behind and pushed her down an embankment in the area of Route 29 and the Gainesville Square Shopping Center around 9:45 p.m.

Police said the man sexually assault the woman, who after several minutes was able to get away. She screamed as she climbed out of the embankment, and someone stopped to help her, according to police.

Authorities said the woman was walking near the intersection of Route 29, also known as Lee Highway, and Somerset Crossing Drive just before the attack.

Police believe the attacker was riding a bike in the area. He was last seen running into a heavily wooded area near Route 55 and Catharpin Road, police said.

Sgt. Kim Chinn, a police spokeswoman, said officers are canvassing the area for clues. Police said the man, who wore jeans and a white shirt, did not show a weapon. A description described him as being as a 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with a thin build and a short haircut.

Authorities ask that any with information about this assault call Crime Solvers at (703) 670-3700 or 1-866-411-TIPS. Police said callers could earn up to a $1,000 cash reward and may remain anonymous.

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Victoria St. Martin covers breaking news and Prince William County for The Post's Local desk.
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