Police investigate sexual assault on dog walker in State Forest

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Updated 9 pm, Saturday

Edgartown Police used the department’s Facebook page to thank the community for the numerous responses to the search for a man police said sexually assaulted a 58-year-old woman at knifepoint about 2:30 pm, Thursday afternoon while she walked her dogs on a portion of Dr. Fisher Road in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

Police said that contrary to rumors there was no sketch of the suspect available and police were using every resource at their disposal.

“Officers have been working on many leads that have been provided by the community in the last 48 hrs.,” police said in a message posted to the department’s Facebook page 1pm, Saturday. “We continue to welcome any information that you think may be helpful.

“This alleged incident is very disturbing and unsettling to say the least. Our department is using every resource that is available to us, including reaching out to outside agencies, with more resources than we have here on MV.

“There have been inquiries and even rumor that we released a composite sketch of a suspect. There is no such sketch, and for reasons we can’t divulge to protect the privacy of the victim, that investigative technique is not an option at this time.

“Please understand that these types of investigations can be very complicated and prolonged. Rest assured we will explore every lead and investigative technique available to us in order to solve this case. As always we will keep you informed along the way.”

Police provided a description of the suspect in a press release issued at 9:30 pm, Thursday. He is described as a white male, in his late twenties to early thirties, with a muscular build, “light brown sandy colored hair, unkempt over ears and curly in back; scruffy facial hair; wearing an old faded light blue jeans with some holes in the thighs, dark colored pocket t-shirt, light blue or green button down chambray shirt over the t-shirt and tan work boots.”

“The suspect also had a gold stud piercing in his left ear, a silver bracelet on his left wrist, and a small tattoo on the thumb webbing of his right hand — round nickel size with letter in the middle,” Detective Sergeant Chris Dolby said in a press release.

“At this time this is an isolated incident,” Sergeant Dolby said. “However, while we investigate this incident we recommend that people use caution. We recommend that people who frequent the State Forest do so in pairs or groups — the buddy system. We ask that you please take note of any suspicious persons or activity and report it.”

Mr. Dolby said the victim provided a very thorough report and her attacker was completely unknown to her.

At 3:40 pm, Thursday, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown Police responded to the area of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School for a report of a female who had been sexually assaulted. They later determined the incident had occurred on a roadway east of the State Forest headquarters building.

Dr. Fisher Road runs through the State Forest from Old County Road in West Tisbury to Edgartown-West Tisbury Road near Meeting House Road in Edgartown.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Edgartown Police Department: (508) 627-4343; email crimetips@edgartown-ma.us; text a tip to 774- 310-1190.