ALISO VIEJO (CBSLA) — The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a possible link between a string of attempted kidnappings in the Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills areas after a fourth incident was reported Tuesday.
An attempted kidnapping of a 28-year-old female occurred at approximately 8:45 a.m. Tuesday morning along the Aliso Creek Hiking Trail near Sheep Hills Park near the underpass of Moulton Parkway, according to a statement from authorities.
The victim, who was walking on the trail, reported hearing someone jogging behind her, and was then grabbed by the suspect by the elbow and pulled her toward him from behind. Authorities say the victim was able to head-butt the suspect, who released her and ran off. The victim described the suspect as a male Caucasian with medium length dark brown hair, approximately 5’10”, wearing a black sweatshirt with a large colored logo on the back and jeans with a rip near the seat.
Tuesday’s report was the latest in a string of similar incidents reported by young women within the last two weeks in the Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills areas and the Aliso Creek Hiking Trail that connects the cities.
In the first incident, authorities say a 12-year-old female reported an unknown white male touched her as she was walking to school near Windsong and Aliso Creek Road in the city of Aliso Viejo at approximately 9 a.m. September 12. The suspect was described as a white male in his early 30s, with blond hair, wearing sunglasses and dressed in black.
On September 17, at approximately 4 p.m., another reported incident occurred, this time along the Aliso Creek Hiking Trail. The 16-year-old female reported she was walking home from school when she was touched by a male suspect. The victim described the man as Hispanic, between 30-40 years old, 5’6″, 140 pounds and short black hair.
On September 18, 2019, at approximately 6:30 p.m., an attempted kidnapping of an 11-year-old female occurred while she was walking her dog along the Aliso Creek Trail in Laguna Hills near Via Lomas and Sheep Hills Park. Authorities say the suspect grabbed the victim and began to drag her toward the bushes. The victim screamed and the suspect released her and ran off. The victim described the suspect as a male Hispanic with short dark hair wearing a red Angels sweatshirt, blue jeans and black shoes.
Investigators are working these cases to determine if the incidents are connected. A task force was established last week, with investigators from multiple details, specialty patrol details, and crime analysis units working every day to attempt to identify the individual(s). No arrests had been made at the time of this report.
Anyone with information they believe may assist investigators is asked to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department dispatch at (714) 647-7000 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS (1-855-847- 6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.