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Wayland police seeking public’s help in finding suspects accused of sexual assault

Police say woman was assaulted Thursday morning on Rabbit River Trail
Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 18:53:23-05

WAYLAND, Mich. — The Wayland Police Department is investigating a sexual assault that happened Thursday morning on Rabbit River Trail.

Chief Mark Garnsey said during a press conference on Friday that the woman was out taking a morning walk around 10:30 a.m. when two men approached her and assaulted her.

“The suspects are described as No. 1 a white male 5’10” mid-to-late 20s, dark hair, medium-length, below the ears, clean shaven and wearing a brown coat and blue jeans,” Chief Garnsey said. “Suspect No. 2 is described as a white male, shorter than the first suspect, perhaps 5’6” to 5’9”, mid-to-late 20s, short-length black hair. He had a larger waist that protruded slightly over his belt.”

The suspect was also clean shaven, wearing blue jeans and a plaid-colored blue-and-black coat, Chief Garnsey added. They were both last seen running north toward Rabbit River, away from Elm Street.

A resident named Margaret lives in the area. She does not want her last name released but told FOX 17 she remembered seeing several police cars near the trail yesterday, investigating the scene.

“They were in the dumpsters looking,” Margaret said. “The police got in the dumpsters, look to see if they were hiding out in the dumpster down there.”

As for the victim, police said she went home and later reported the incident to authorities. Police are reaching out to the public asking for help in catching the people responsible.

“You may not have been in there that day,” Chief Garnsey said. “But, if you were walking through there, even days or a week before, and those descriptions appear to be similar and you may know a vehicle parked in that lot or something, please come forward and contact the Wayland Police Department.”

Michigan State Police, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and the Gun Lake Tribal Police all helped with the investigation, he said.

Chief Garnsey also stressed the importance of safety. Even though the trail is a popular one for runners, joggers and walkers, safety is always key. So he suggested carrying legal spray or a noise-making device to protect yourself should a threat arise.

“You can always carry personal warning devices, something that you hit that makes a loud noise,” he said. “Noise tends to scare and frighten attackers away because it draws attention and more witnesses. They're the worst for them. The better for the victim, the better for the police to keep people safe. So, all those things are something to keep in mind.”

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