News

Police warn of serial rapist

With a possible serial rapist on the loose, police are advising women in Oak Harbor not to walk alone.

A second woman, age 26, has reported to the Island County Sheriff’s Office that she was raped. Although the report was made June 8, she was raped on May 11, according to Jan Smith, sheriff’s office spokesperson. There was no immediate explanation why she waited so long to report the incident.

The rape occurred along a small private road off Highway 20 and Hoffman Road, near Liberty Market.

The woman’s description of the rapist matched the description another woman gave of her attacker. That attack occurred May 14 on NE Seventh Avenue and was reported immediately by the 18-year-old victim. Neighbors broke up the attack but the perpetrator fled on foot.

Both the rape and attempted rape were carried out in a similar manner, and the victims gave similar descriptions of the attacker. “The description was the same and the MO was the same,” said Smith.

The Sheriff’s Office and Oak Harbor Police Department are both looking for a suspect described as white, possibly mixed race, under 30 years of age, unshaven, medium build, and no taller than 6-feet, 2-inches.

Detectives from both agencies caution that young women should not walk alone and should be aware of their surroundings.

“If you’re going for an early morning or late evening walk or bike ride, take along your dog, or borrow one,” said Sheriff’s Detective Susan Quandt. “A cell phone is also an excellent safety device, to use to report suspicious circumstances to the police -- don’t call your friends and family first. A flashlight and whistle also can be used to increase your personal safety.”

Residents with information about the suspect should call 678-6116 or 679-9567.

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