The El Dorado County woman was walking about 1 p.m. Friday on the El Dorado Trail near Missouri Flat Road, when a man walked up behind her and asked for the location of a nearby business.
The man asked for a dollar, and when she gave him one, he asked to shake her hand. But he then grabbed hold of her, pull her in close and used his other hand to sexually assault her, investigators said.
"She was trying to engage with another community member, being a good neighbor," El Dorado County Sgt. Tasha Thompson said. "Unfortunately, this person took advantage of her."
As the woman screamed for help and began fighting back, the man didn't let go, deputies said.
He eventually released her, apologized and ran south from the trail. As he ran from the victim, he lost one of his shoes, which was collected by sheriff's deputies.
El Dorado County Sheriff's Office"It helps us where there’s possibly DNA evidence on it, someone may recognize that shoe along with the description we put out as someone they know," Thompson said.
Dozens of people were biking, running or walking on the trail Wednesday afternoon and had just learned about the crime.
"That’s really concerning because I am on this trail, and I am on it a lot by myself," Joanie Lowe said.
Kale Elledge runs the trail regularly and said he likely passed the victim and the suspect on the same day of the crime -- moments before it happened.
"There was plenty of people on the trail," Elledge said. "I mean you don’t really expect that someone would have the gall to assault somebody in the middle of the day on the trail."
Michelle Jackson said she's walked the trail for years, but now she will no longer be doing it solo.
"After hearing about the incident, we’re not going to do that anymore," Jackson said.
The suspect is described as being between 14 and 20 years old, standing 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 130 pounds. He has brown eyes and dark, messy hair that stood straight up by 2 to 3 inches. He was wearing a sky blue short-sleeved polo shirt, blue jeans and red Nike shoes, deputies said.
Detectives are reviewing video surveillance in the area and hope to provide a picture of the man soon.
Anyone with information about the man or incident is asked to call the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office at 530-542-4709.
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