Woman reports she was kidnapped from York Rail Trail, sexually assaulted

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Riding the York County Heritage Rail Trail in Springfield Township, Sunday, November 4, 2018. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

A woman is alerting people that she was kidnapped from a portion of the York County Heritage Rail Trail in York City last week and assaulted at knifepoint inside a car her abductor forced her into.

"Be safe out there," she wrote on Facebook. "I don’t want anyone else to get hurt."

York City Police detectives are investigating, according to Officer Derek Hartman, the department's public information officer.

More:Arrest made in York Rail Trail rape, kidnapping case

"On Feb. 28 at around 6:54 p.m. we received a (911) call for a sexual assault which occurred in area of Kings Mill Road and the York County Rail Trail," he said on Wednesday. "It's an ongoing investigation."

There have not been any other similar reports at this point, Hartman confirmed.

Hartman suggested women try to avoid traveling alone, walk in well-lit areas and carry pepper spray or weapons of self-defense. He also noted there are self-defense classes that can help teach women skills to fend off attacks.

The Southern PA Incident Network posted the woman's account so she did not have to use her own name. She wrote she wanted to warn people to be careful.

Barely got away: "(M)y life literally became an episode of 'Law & Order: SVU' in the blink of an eye, and I NEVER thought it would happen to me, but IT DID," she wrote. "I know how to fight and I'm fairly street smart and it STILL HAPPENED TO ME. I got away, but BARELY."

She described her attacker as being a black man with bulging eyes, late 40s to about 60 years old, more than 6 feet tall and husky. He has a very deep voice and was wearing a heavy, dark-colored jacket, similar to a Carhartt jacket.

He was driving an older-model gold or tan sedan that could have been a late 1990s or early 2000s Chevrolet Malibu or something similar, she wrote.

"(I)t was clear to me in the moment, despite how panicked I was, that there was a 'script' he had in his head of how he wanted it to go — I played along and did EVERYTHING he asked because he had a large knife and strangled me with his bare hands and told me he owns me now. ..."

The attacker threatened her life and told her he expects her to meet him daily on West Cottage Place to have sex with him because he knows where she lives or was staying, she wrote.

"I did what I had to do to stay alive and he let me go with minimal injury," she wrote.

Witnesses sought: The woman wrote that she was assaulted inside the attacker's car, which was parked behind homes in an alley lot somewhere near Boundary Avenue. She noted that people did approach the vehicle, "but he was on top of me and convinced them to go away," meaning there are witnesses.

At the time, his hand was squeezing her throat and she couldn't scream or move, she wrote.

Anyone with information about the attack, or who thinks they recognize the description of the attacker, is urged to call police right away, Hartman said.

Reach York City Police at 717-846-1234, or call the department's anonymous crime tip line, 717-849-2204.

Tipsters can also leave information on the CrimeWatch app or call York County Crime Stoppers at 717-755-TIPS. All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and callers don't have to give their names to collect cash rewards.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.