Trail of SRJC attacker has gone cold

  • 11/13/2009: A1: ASSAILANT AT LARGE: A police sketch of the suspect, described as a short, stocky Latino man in his mid-20s to early 30s.

    11/12/2009: B1: The assailant at SRJC was described as a short, stocky Latino man in his mid-20s to 30s.


Detectives have run out of leads in the search for the man who tried to rape a Santa Rosa Junior College employee last November, police officials said.

The brash, daytime assault left the 59-year-old woman bruised and shaken after fighting off her attacker who eventually fled as she screamed for help.

Now, six months after the assault, state crime lab analysts have not uncovered any clues to the identity of the assailant who entered the theater arts building on a Tuesday morning, grabbed the woman and wrestled her to the floor as he tried to tear at her clothing, said Sgt. John Snetsinger, who is in charge of the Santa Rosa Police Department's investigation.

"We have nothing to go on in that case, nothing coming in, no new leads," Snetsinger said. "It likely will take this person doing a similar thing again. Hopefully it won't happen again, but we'd like to solve this case."

Six days after the assault on the SRJC campus, a Sebastopol man was arrested on suspicion of trying to rape a pregnant woman in his neighborhood. Detectives considered the man a key suspect in the SRJC assault.

But the man didn't fit the description of the SRJC attacker and detectives have no evidence to link him to the Nov. 10 assault, Snetsinger said.

"We have nothing to rule him in or rule him out," Snetsinger said.

The campus employee who fought off her attacker said she's gradually pushing the assault into the past by concentrating on theater productions, paintings and other artistic projects that remind her of who she is and why life is good.

"I'm trying my best, and think I've succeeded in not letting this take up very much of my life," she said. "To me it's a waste of time. And sometimes I really forget that it happened, until someone asks how I'm doing with a serious look in their eyes." The Press Democrat's policy is to not identify victims of sexual assault.

Detectives have pored through boxes of evidence gathered from the scene, a rear office in the back of Burbank Auditorium that was in disarray when the woman grabbed for anything that might help her fend off her attacker.

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