A woman was sexually assaulted Thursday morning on a jogging and cycling trail near a Metra station in south suburban Matteson — an incident that could be related to attacks on women in nearby suburbs, police say.
Matteson police received a call about the rape along Old Plank Road Trail between Main Street and Homan Avenue at 5:30 a.m.
A 34-year-old woman who was walking to the nearby Metra station from her home in Park Forest was grabbed and raped along the trail. Her attacker then fled the scene on foot. She was taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries.
Matteson police and Cook County Sheriff’s deputies were conducting an investigation, and were combing the scene for evidence Thursday morning. Police cordoned off a block-long stretch of the trail as they searched for evidence.
The attack follows several incidents in Park Forest and Richton Park.
On Tuesday, a man grabbed two women at two different locations within a 90-minute time frame: one in Park Forest on Rich Road and one in Richton Park on Sauk Trail near Richton Square Road. All three of these most recent incidents have been in the morning hours.
The Park Forest Police Department additionally continues their investigation into four previous incidents where a man has grabbed or battered young women in since March. Those incidents occurred in Winnebago Park, on Westwood Drive at Winnebago Street, on Sangamon Street at Shabbona Drive, and on the 300 block of Windsor Street.
Police can’t say if all the incidents are connected. A $500 reward remains for any information provided to police which results in the arrest of an offender in any of the incidents.
Residents where the Matteson attack occurred said officers were using dogs to pick up the rapist’s trail.
Police recovered a cell phone near the scene, along with articles of clothing that were strewn around the area.
The attack left local residents worried, especially in light of the fact four unsolved sexual assaults have occurred in neighboring Park Forest in the past two months.
“I just hope they get him because … this is really a shame,” said Navarra Scott. “I’ve seen those flyers for like a month-and-a-half, and it’s crazy that you just can’t walk out here and just be safe.”
Police said it’s too soon to know if Thursday’s attack was connected to the Park Forest sexual assaults.
The rapist was described as a clean-shaven African American male in his late 20s to early 30s, standing approximately 5’10”, weighing about 180 pounds, with short hair, calloused hands, and a medium brown complexion. He was wearing a black hooded nylon jacket with a white zipper, dark denim jeans, and worn dark gym shoes.