Morgan Hill Police investigators collect evidence of Tuesday’s

Police are still looking for a man who sexually assaulted a
woman while holding a pair of scissors to her throat in northeast
Morgan Hill just before daylight Tuesday morning.
Police are still looking for a man who sexually assaulted a woman while holding a pair of scissors to her throat in northeast Morgan Hill just before daylight Tuesday morning.

About 6:15 a.m., the 45-year-old victim was jogging southbound on Mission View Road near Half Road, a route she takes frequently on her morning exercise, Morgan Hill Police Cmdr. Joe Sampson said.

The woman told police she passed a man between 17 and 25 years old, who was jogging northbound on the other side of the street. After the man passed, she briefly heard footsteps behind her before she was grabbed around the upper body with one arm.

The man pulled her into an orchard on the side of the road and sexually assaulted her while holding a pair of scissors to her neck, Sampson said. The assault lasted about 10 minutes, and afterward the attacker fled southeast through the orchard.

The victim ran back in the direction she came from, and when she reached a construction site near Cochrane and Mission View roads she asked a group of workers to call 911. Police received that call about 6:50 a.m.

Authorities responded to the site and spoke to the victim briefly before transporting her to Valley Health Center in Gilroy, Sampson said. The woman did not suffer any visible injuries, and was evaluated for other injuries and evidence.

The attacker is described as between 5 feet, 8 inches and 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He weighs about 130 to 150 pounds, spoke English with a slight, possibly Spanish accent, and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark baggy pants, Sampson said.

Investigators were still at the scene, on the east side of Mission View Road, at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Crime tape marked the location of the assault about two rows into the orchard. Mission View Road was closed between Avenita De Los Padres and Half Road. Officers gathered around a trailer processing unspecified evidence collected at the scene.

“This is an unconscionable act, and we’re putting all our resources into trying to get this suspect off the streets,” Sampson said.

The city enacted its Alert phone message system Tuesday afternoon, sending out a mass phone message cautioning Morgan Hill residents to be aware of their surroundings and of suspicious activity. Police also advise people not to jog or walk alone, and to do so only in well-lit areas or during the daytime.

Employees at DePaul Health Center on Mission View Road just north of where it was closed, said they only knew about the incident from reports on the Internet.

Sophia Bueno, a front office employee at South Bay Cardiovascular Center, said she frequently sees both male and female joggers in the area.

“The majority of them are by themselves,” Bueno said. She added she hasn’t noticed anything suspicious or unusual in recent days.

In a dense subdivision just north of the crime scene, between Mission View and Peet roads, residents who were contacted Tuesday afternoon still feel safe.

Ahdee Chan, 43, said he and his wife always keep a close eye on their two daughters anyway. He said the children play outside often, and he rides bicycles with them through the neighborhood. Chan added even though he has heard of an incident in which one of his neighbors was followed home from a nearby shopping center and attacked, he has felt “very safe” during the nine years he has lived in the subdivision.

A few doors away Jose Gomez, 17, said his sister and mother will likely not go outside alone and avoid Mission View Road, which is surrounded by fields and orchards, for a while.

But on the south end of Mission View Road, the setting transforms into a more rural scene.

A 33-year-old woman who grew up on Half Road just east of Tuesday’s crime scene said she has always been concerned about suspicious activity in the area. She said students from Live Oak High School, whose campus abuts Half Road, often skip school and smoke drugs in the orchard in her backyard. The resident, who declined to provide her name, pointed to a used glass “crack pipe” that had been discarded on the side of the road across from her house and had been lying there for several days.

“This area has been used for hideouts because it’s so dark and secluded,” said the woman. She added she has felt like she has been “stalked” while out on walks with her German Shepherd dog.

Police are looking for any witnesses who might have seen suspicious people or vehicles on Mission View Road between Half and Cochrane roads, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Anyone with information about this incident may call Morgan Hill Police at (408) 779-2101.

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