Niagara Regional Police are searching for a man who sexually assaulted a woman yesterday evening at Mel Swart Park.
Police say the victim, who is in her 20s, was hiking at the park at approximately 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when she took a break on a park bench near a trail. A man sat down beside the woman and started a conversation before sexually assaulting her, police say.
"The sexual assault was interrupted when an adult woman and her daughter who were using the trail happened to walk up," police say, in a news release issued today. "The suspect then ran from the area. The victim was supported and escorted back to the parking lot by the unknown woman. The victim left the area in her own car and contacted the police."
The suspect is described as a white man, approximately 30 to 40 years old, with light brown hair and a short moustache. He was wearing jeans and a charcoal grey hooded sweatshirt.
Below is the full press release from police:
NIAGARA REGIONAL POLICE SERVICE
On Sept. 21, 2022, 2 District Niagara Falls / Niagara on the Lake uniform officers from the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) responded to an address in Niagara on the Lake for a report of a belated sexual assault.
Officers met with the female victim (in her 20s). The victim did not require medical treatment.
The initial investigation determined that at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2022, the victim had been hiking alone in Mel Swart Lake Gibson Conservation Park (DeCew Road / Abbey Drive) in Thorold. The victim had stopped and sat on a park bench along the trail to take a break. An unknown lone man emerged from the trails and began a conversation with the victim. The man sat on the bench beside victim at which time he sexually assaulted her. The sexual assault was interrupted when an adult woman and her daughter who were using the trail happened to walk up.
The suspect then ran from the area. The victim was supported and escorted back to the parking lot by the unknown woman. The victim left the area in her own car and contacted the police.
The suspect was not known to the victim.
NRPS officers attended the scene of the sexual assault but did not locate the suspect.
The suspect is described as:
- White male, tanned, freckles on cheeks
- Approximately 30 - 40 years
- Light brown short hair and a moustache (clean cut / well groomed)
- Brown eyes
- Approximately 5’11” feet tall
- 200 - 220 lbs. – broad muscular build
The suspect was wearing:
- Charcoal grey hooded sweatshirt with an unknown white logo over the left side chest area, white drawstrings in hood
- Blue jeans
The investigation has been assigned to detectives from the NRPS Sexual Assault Unit. Detectives are seeking information that may identify the suspect and the witness woman who assisted the victim.
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives by calling 905-688-4111, option 3, extension 1009450.
Members of the public who wish to provide information anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers of Niagara online or by calling 1-800-222-8477. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards to persons who contact the program with information which leads to an arrest.
Anyone (residents or businesses) in the area (along DeCew Road) with closed circuit security cameras, doorbell video cameras, or dash cameras are asked to review their footage for suspicious activity for the period between 4:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2022.