U.S. Park Police officials said yesterday that they are seeking a man who committed five daylight assaults on women in area parks since May. Two of the women were raped, police said.
Park Police Maj. Robert Hines said all five assaults appear to have been committed by the same man, and he appealed to the public for information that might lead to an arrest.
Hines said the suspect is about 30 years old, 5-feet, 8-inches tall, and stockily built. He said the man, armed with a knife and wearing a ski mask, acted alone in all of the assaults.
All the women were attacked while walking or jogging alone in daylight. The suspect approached them from behind and dragged them into bushes, Hines said.
Park Police Sgt. Gretchen Merkle said the first attack occurred May 23 on the bike path in Montrose Park, near the 3000 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW. The woman escaped when witnesses interrupted the attack, and the man ran, Merkle said.
The next reported attack occurred Aug. 10 in a driveway in the 2100 block of Park Road NW, where a woman was punched and robbed before managing to escape. On Sept. 27, another woman was attacked on the Rock Creek Park bike path near 23rd and P streets NW. The suspect fled after the woman screamed, said Merkle.
Merkle said the most recent assaults were on Nov. 1 in Dumbarton Oaks Park in Northwest Washington and on Nov. 17 on the George Washington Memorial Parkway bike path near the 14th Street Bridge, just north of National Airport. The victims in both those attacks were raped, she said.
There has been a surge in reported sexual attacks against women in the Washington area this year. This month, the FBI reported that rapes in the city had increased 66 percent -- to 149 -- in the first half of this year from the same period last year.
Two women have been slain this year on area recreational paths. Anne Elizabeth Borghesani was killed in March while walking on a bike path near her home in the North Highlands section of Arlington, and Margaret Perkins was killed in June after going out for a jog in Indian Head Creek Park in Berwyn Heights.
Last week, an Arlington grand jury indicted Michael Charles Satcher, 22, on charges of capital murder, rape and robbery in the slaying of Borghesani. No arrests have been made in the Perkins slaying.