Woman nearly strangled in brazen attack on trail - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Woman nearly strangled in brazen attack on trail

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EL CAJON (CNS) - An unknown assailant jumped a woman Friday on a walking trail near Gillespie Field airport and choked her nearly into unconsciousness, fleeing when she managed to break free, authorities reported.

The 53-year-old victim, Carol Helton, was strolling alone on a hillside path near the Starlight Mobile Home Park about 9:15 a.m., when the man attacked her from behind, wrapping some sort of cable or cord around her neck, according to sheriff's officials.

Helton never saw the face of her assailant. All she remembers is him telling her to “shut up and be quiet.”  

During an ensuing struggle, the Helton almost passed out before managing to escape the man's grasp, Detective David Chandroo said.

Not wanting to choke, Helton said she reacted and stepped on his foot. “It either startled him or something else scared him,” she said.

The assailant then ran off.

After escaping, Helton said she ran to a family member’s house and called 911.

Helton’s husband drove her to the hospital where medics took the victim for evaluation of apparently minor injuries.

Deputies searched in vain for the attacker, described as a roughly 6- foot-tall black man in his mid-30s, wearing baggy jeans and a blue plaid shirt.

Without a suspect, deputies do not have a motive, but Helton’s husband believes the situation could have been worse.

Helton told investigators she had never seen the perpetrator before, but hopes that by telling her story someone will know the person who Sheriff’s deputies said tried to hurt her. 

No similar crimes have been reported in the area recently, Chandroo said.

Despite the traumatic event, Helton said she will stay strong and not be afraid of walking again.

“I’m not dying today. He’s not taking my day away,” she said.  

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