Woodbury on alert after rape

  • Article by: DAAREL BURNETTE II , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2011 - 7:55 AM

Residents are changing their routines and finding alternative places to walk after a jogger was attacked in a secluded area of park.

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A 33-year-old woman jogging about 5:30 a.m. Saturday was sexually assaulted near this walking path in Markgrafs Lake Park in Woodbury, yards away from the nearest home. No arrests have been made.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

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An early-morning sexual assault on a jogger near an east Woodbury lake has shaken residents of the area and caused many to change their routines.

The 33-year-old jogger was attacked about 5:30 a.m. Saturday along a shady walking path on the northeast side of Markgrafs Lake, in Markgrafs Lake Park, police said.

"It really took us by surprise," said Ed West, who was walking along the lake with his family Sunday. "Nothing like that has happened here. It's pretty upsetting to the community."

The victim suffered physical injuries in the attack and was treated at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury and released.

Because it was dark at the time of the attack, she was able to describe the attacker only as a male whom she did not know, according to police. Police have not made any arrests.

The attack took place in a secluded and wooded area of the park and yards away from the nearest home.

On Sunday, one of the warmest days of the year, dozens of residents strolled along the milelong walkway that circles the lake. Egrets flew over the lake. The sprawling community is made up of duplexes, apartments and single-family homes.

"It's the closest you can get to nature out here in these parts," said 51-year-old Kim Shallman, who was walking along the lake alone Sunday afternoon. "But it makes me nervous because of how secluded it is here."

Sheri Azcona usually tows her 8-year-old twin boys and 3-year-old daughter in a wagon around the lake at least three times a week. When she heard about the attack Saturday night, the 43-year-old decided to stick to the south side of the lake, where there are more businesses and eyes.

"It makes me scared," she said during a pause in her bike around the lake. "It really hit close to home."

Police spent Sunday canvassing the neighborhood and analyzing evidence they collected from the scene.

Sgt. Chris Murray, who is investigating the case, advised residents to be vigilant and to walk with a partner if possible. He also advised them to carry a flashlight or whistle.

Daarel Burnette II • 651-735-1695

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