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Woman raped on Northwest Branch Trail

The latest attack occurred on the Northwest Branch Trail in Montgomery County. (WTOP/Max Smith)

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A woman was raped at knifepoint Monday afternoon on a popular Montgomery County jogging and biking trail, the third notable attack on a woman in the Washington area in less than 48 hours.

Maryland-National Capital Park Police say the woman punched her attacker in the face on the Northwest Branch Trail near Oakview Drive, but she was not able to escape the attack Monday afternoon.

Montgomery County police released a description of the attacker on Tuesday afternoon, describing him as Hispanic, between 5-feet-10 and 6-feet tall, with a medium build and complexion. He had short black hair, they say.

Capt. Paul Starks says the man was wearing a blue baseball cap at the time of the attack with a white T-shirt and black pants.

Another spokesperson said a police dog was able to track the suspect as far as Piney Branch Road.

“(The victim) stated the T-shirt may have had a light blue emblem or logo on it,” Starks said.

The victim is in her mid 20s, Starks says.

Although Starks says such attacks are “infrequent” along the trail, several neighbors said they didn’t want to use the trail now.

Starks advises anyone who does should take safety precautions.

“Get to know the trail. You can do so in front of your computer. Get a picture of it from Google and get to know the length and where certain access points are, that way if you are in trouble and you have your cellphone, and we’re telling people to carry their cellphones, you can alert authorities to more closely where you are.”

Starks also recommended telling someone where you’re going and when and consider jogging with a buddy.

Many joggers, walkers and bikers from wear headphones or ear buds on the trail.

“We recommend that you don’t do that,” says Starks.

“But if you still feel the need, if you want that music or stimulus when you’re outside, consider just using one in one ear and leaving the other ear open to remain vigilant and more aware of your surroundings.”

Elsewhere in the D.C. area, two other women faced apparently separate attacks early Sunday and Monday.

In Arlington Monday morning, police say a man in a white four-door sedan tried to pull a jogger into his car. She was able to escape.

In Hyattsville, a woman walking home from the Prince George’s Plaza Metro was robbed and sexually assaulted just after 2 a.m. Sunday.

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