By Marie Saavedra

BEACH PARK, Ill. (CBS) — An urgent search for the man who attacked a teenaged girl walking on a bike path in the northern suburbs.

CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Tuesday from Beach Park with new details on the investigation.

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Authorities in Lake County are asking for help finding the man who sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl Monday evening on a bike path in the far north suburb.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is focused on spreading the word about something the suspect was wearing that definitely stands out. Beyond that, the investigation is focused on this path and the neighborhood right next to it.

The Robert McClory Bike Path runs 25 miles, but a teenager’s life was forever changed in less than a half mile stretch.

Lake County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Robert McClory Bike Path just north of York House Road in Beach Park around 7:30 p.m., after a girl was assaulted while walking on the bike path.

Officials said as the girl was walking, a man came out of the nearby tree line, grabbed her by the neck, shoved her to the ground, forcefully removed her clothes, and sexually assaulted her.

A witness heard the girl’s screams and began yelling to the girl to run for help. That’s when the attacker ran off, and the witness called 911 for help.

“An individual began yelling at her from the roadway, from York House Road,” said Lt. Christpher Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Covelli said the 16-year-old was walking alone Monday night, with the sun still out. She ignored the man that yelled at her and kept walking. But he didn’t give up.

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“Several minutes later, she got about an eighth, quarter mile of York House Road the individual who had been yelling at her appeared from a tree line,” Covelli said.

Detectives said he grabbed her by the neck, forcing her to the ground before sexually assaulting her. The teen screamed, and someone on Northshore Avenue, which backs up to the trail, shouted back. Officers believe that scared the suspect into running off. The 16-year-old ran to that Good Samaritan who called 911.

 

She described the attacker as a thin Black man, about 5’11 in his 20s, but with some very distinctive accessories — several metallic barrettes.

“Many of them, throughout his hair. A lot of males don’t wear those in their hair,” Covelli said. “So that might be something that a friend an acquaintance, a coworker might recognize.”

The girl was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries she suffered in the attack.

Lake County Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter to search for the attacker, and used a Lake Forest Police Canine team to track him. Authorities said the track led to an area where it is believed the attacker got into a vehicle to flee the scene.

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Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Lake County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division at 847-377-4000.

Marie Saavedra