Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police ask for help finding sex attacker

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WINNIPEG police are asking the public to help them identify the suspect in a two-month-old serious sexual assault case.

A 22-year-old woman was sexually assaulted under the St. Vital Bridge in the early hours of March 20.

The attacker was a black man in his late 30s or early 40s who might be a suspect in other sexual assault cases.

"I know it has been some time since it passed," Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said.

"We've been spending a lot of time with the victim, trying to confirm certain details. It's taken us some time to put that information together."

The man is described as about 6-0, with a slim build, short black hair and a clean-shaven face.

Michalyshen said investigators have collected surveillance video and photos, which were distributed to news media.

"We're hopeful some member of the public or anybody who may have been in the area at the time can recall maybe hearing something, seeing something or certainly the photographs that we provided today might certainly put us in the direction of identifying some particular individual."

Michalyshen said police didn't appeal to the public earlier because investigators had questions about some of the details of the assault that had to be resolved.

The woman told police she met a man while waiting for a city bus at Main Street and Bannatyne Avenue at 12:30 a.m.

The two took a bus to Fort Rouge and got off near Osborne Street South and Walker Avenue. The pair entered a convenience store and bought some items.

The woman said they left the store and walked in the area, ending up near the St. Vital Bridge, where he forced her under the bridge and sexually assaulted her.

Michalyshen said it's believed the attack occurred sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

The woman said she escaped and made her way to a nearby curling club, but the man followed her and robbed her of some personal items, including an electronic device and jewelry.

Michalyshen said the woman contacted police at 5:30 a.m.

The description of the attacker is similar to the description in at least one other sexual assault case.

Michalyshen said it's possible this man was involved in other cases, adding it's standard procedure to examine those possibilities.

"We aren't in a position to say anything for sure, but that will be a component of the investigation," Michalyshen said.

"We have acknowledged a previous sexual assault, involving a male with similar descriptors: a black male, similar age."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2012 A7

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