Secret phone call saves woman from sexual assault in Provo restroom

Local News

UPDATE: 11/13 

Police confirm the they have a suspect in custody. “[This] would not have happened without strong help from BYU PD,”. Details.

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Secret phone call saves woman from sexual assault in Provo restroom

PROVO (ABC4 Utah News) – A woman’s secret cell phone call saved her from being sexually assaulted early Tuesday morning. Now police are asking for the public’s help to find the knife wielding suspect.

A group of friends set off on a midnight hike up Rock Canyon Trail. When one woman turned back to use the restroom at the trailhead, police say this man, armed with a 10 inch knife, snuck up behind her.

“He came out on the trail behind her and followed her into the restroom,” Lieutenant Brian Taylor of the Provo Police Department said. “Then used that knife to begin ordering her to disrobe.”

That’s when she secretly dialed a male member of the group on the trail.

“While she was disrobing she used her phone to surreptitiously make a call to her friends,” Lt. Taylor said. “She left the line open and her friend on the other end of the phone realized what he was hearing, ran down the trail and stopped that conduct.”

The suspect took off. Police describe him as a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 185 pounds with acne scars and his upper teeth filed flat. He had a distinctive 10 inch knife engraved with wildlife and wore a sheath on his leg.
Women on the trail Friday were surprised that something like that could happen there.

“It’s horrifying,” Zoi Barnes said. “That’s really scary. You go to a place like this to enjoy nature and it’s sad that you can’t enjoy it without someone trying to come and do something.”

Samantha Pentz told ABC4 Utah News she often hikes the trail.

“It’s really disturbing personally because I thought about coming up here alone before and then kind of hesitated,” Pentz said. ” Like ‘Well Provo’s safe’ so for me, that could have been me had I decided to come up here alone.”

Provo Police say it’s “urgent” to arrest the suspect.

“This is a person who doesn’t have any apparent moral restraint on his behavior and is using force to get what he wants,” Lt. Taylor said. “We’re going to make every reasonable effort to find this person.”

Police say this suspect does not match the description of the man who committed a sexual assault in Alpine Sunday morning.

If you see the man from the sketch all 911 and if you have any information about him, call the Provo Police Department at 801-852-6255. 

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