Regionwide search on for suspect in brutal rape - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Regionwide search on for suspect in brutal rape

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Law enforcement agencies across San Diego County were on the lookout Thursday for a fugitive who fled from a freeway rest stop near Camp Pendleton when officers tried to take him into custody in connection with a violent rape in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities in Contra Costa County alerted the California Highway Patrol in Oceanside that they had tracked signals from a cell phone belonging to the suspect, 45-year-old Stephen Paul Clark of Oakley, to the Eliso Creek Rest Area alongside Interstate 5, CHP public affairs Officer Chris Parent said.

When Highway Patrol personnel and sheriff's deputies arrived there a short time later, a man later identified as Clark climbed over a fence and ran off onto the grounds of Camp Pendleton, leaving behind a female companion, according to Parent.

Authorities searched beaches, ravines and military property in the area by ground and air for about eight hours but were unable to find the fugitive, Parent said. Law enforcement agencies throughout the San Diego region received alerts regarding the suspect, who was considered dangerous and likely armed.

Clark, who was convicted of sexual assault in Texas about 10 years ago, is accused of kidnapping and raping a 45-year-old woman in Oakley last Saturday, according to the Contra Costa Times.

The alleged victim told authorities she'd met and befriended Clark at a bar, after which he took her by force to his home, where he allegedly bound, gagged and assaulted her. Clark purportedly was armed with a pistol and knives and threatened to kill the woman during the attack.

The suspect is a 6-foot-1-inch white man with short, "spiky" gray-blond hair and blue eyes, Parent said. When he fled from the rest stop, he was wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and carrying a black jacket.

The woman he was with at the time said she had met Clark several weeks earlier and had no idea he was wanted by the law, according to Parent. She told authorities she and the suspect were traveling from Fresno to San Diego, where they intended to visit beaches.

Anyone who spots the fugitive is asked to avoid contacting him and call 911 immediately.

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