Update: On Tuesday, April 11, Palo Alto police arrested a man in connection with the reported sexual assault that occurred on Sunday, April 9. Read our latest story.
A woman in her 50s was reportedly attacked and sexually assaulted on Sunday afternoon, April 9, while she was traveling through the California Avenue pedestrian underpass in Palo Alto, police said. Officers are still searching for the suspect.
Police received an emergency call at 2:49 p.m. from a passerby who had found the woman in the underpass shortly after the assault, according to a press release. The woman told police she was walking her bike east when a man struck her from behind, causing her to fall to the ground, before he sexually assaulted her.
During the incident, police said the man had stolen the woman's cellphone when she called out for help and that he later fled the area in an "unknown" direction. Officers found her cellphone shortly after in the 3000 block of Emerson Street. The woman suffered moderate injuries, including bruising on her neck and lacerations to the back of her head.
The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she received both treatment and a sexual assault forensic exam, police said.
The man is described as Asian, between the ages of 30 and 40 and 5 feet, 5 inches tall with a stocky build. He was cleanly shaven at the time of the attack, the woman told police, and was wearing a dark bike helmet, dark sunglass and a high-visibility yellow top.
Police are canvassing the area around the attack and on Sunday distributed flyers to households near the tunnel asking for surveillance footage that may have captured the suspect prior to or after the assault. On Monday, a police sketch artist met with the woman to produce a drawing of the suspect, which was released to the public.
Police are asking anyone with information to call 24-hour dispatch at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or via text and voicemail to 650-383-8984.