Virginia

Sketch Released of Suspect Who Sexually Assaulted 2 Women in Fairfax Park

The suspect attacked women who were sleeping in Gateway Regional Park two different nights

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Police in Fairfax, Virginia, released a sketch Thursday of a suspect wanted in two separate sexual assaults at a park.

The attacks happened in Gateway Regional Park on Pickett Road on Oct. 10 and Oct. 20, the City of Fairfax Police Department said.

The suspect sexually assaulted a woman who was sleeping on a park bench on Oct. 10 just after 10 p.m. Ten days later, another woman who was sleeping in the park overnight was sexually assaulted.

Police described the suspect as a Hispanic man in his early 20s who is about 5 foot 3 to 5 foot 7 inches tall with a slender build.

The suspect took off on a bicycle after both incidents.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 703-385-7953.

Near the park, The Lamb Center, which serves people experiencing homelessness, helped both victims.

"The thing that would've kept these women out of trouble is if they had a place to live," The Lamb Center Director Tara Ruszkowski said.

Ruszkowski said these attacks are drawing attention to a hole in the system.

Victims of domestic violence can access help, but there's not a system set up for those who experience homelessness and are attacked by strangers.

"You could go into the homeless shelter system but there is a waitlist and there's no prioritization for women or men who have been assaulted to be prioritized and get a shelter bed sooner. So, we're looking at probably a couple month waitlist for these women to get into a shelter," said Deb Haynes, with The Lamb Center.

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