Man arrested in connection with sexual assault of 28-year-old woman at Hines Park

Jogger says man attacked her on bike path

LIVONIA, Mich. - A man is set to be arraigned Wednesday on three charges connected to the sexual assault of a woman who was jogging at Hines Park last September.

The man was arrested Tuesday on kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and assault charges. He's being held overnight at the Livonia Police Department.

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The charges stem from a Sept. 4 incident in which a 28-year-old woman said she was attacked while jogging on a bike trail.

The woman told officers that a man wrapped his arms around her neck and struck her on the side of her face. She struggled with the attacker as he attempted to drag her toward the Rouge River. Police said the man attempted to remove her clothing and told her that he wanted to have sex with her.

The victim was able to fight off the man and run away. She flagged down a motorist and used his phone to call police.

Women on the trail are proud of the jogger, whose toughness and ability to survive led to the sketch, and eventually, an arrest.

"We come out here and run as a group because I don't feel comfortable running by myself," said Alisha Hejka, of Love Runs.

Love Runs is a group of a few hundred runners who raise money to stop human trafficking in Metro Detroit.

Many of the members who run at Hines Park said they were aware of the attempted rape in September.

"We have a page that things get posted on, and I read about it," Hejka said. "So we shared some ways to run safely."

Tuesday morning's arrest was a big deal for the group.

"I used to run the path where all that happened, but when it happened, I wouldn't go down it," Pam Heaton said.

Julie Roy said she's been a careful walker-runner since an incident in college.

"No running at night," Roy said.

April Palise said she knows the good news about the arrest comes with a caveat.

"You still have to be aware," Palise said. "There's always the next guy around the corner."

But if Livonia police are right, there could be one less offender out there, and women in Love Runs said they wish they could hug the jogger who survived and helped make the arrest happen.

"It made me think, if it does happen to me, you can get away," Hejka said. "You can fight back. You don't have to take it. So whoever she is out there, I'm proud of her. It's really brave of her and strong of her."

Local 4 will be in court Wednesday for the man's arraignment.

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