Sheriff seeks suspect in Cottonwood sexual assault

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Cottonwood Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance identifying the suspect responsible for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 43-year-old Lake Montezuma woman Wednesday, Sept. 12.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. The suspect is described as a male Caucasian, 6-foot-1or 6-foot-2 inches tall, 180 pounds, stocky build, short blonde hair, blue eyes, 35 to 40 years of age, clean-cut, no facial hair and had scratches, possibly caused by brush, on his face, arms and legs. He was last seen wearing a khaki-colored shirt and shorts, white tennis shoes and not wearing socks.

According to sheriff's office reports, the victim reported to deputies that she had been out target shooting in an area on Allen Springs Road south of Cottonwood on Wednesday evening around 5 p.m. After firing a few rounds she laid her weapon down on the front seat of her car then walked over to inspect her targets. It was at that point that the suspect approached her on foot. He reportedly spoke with her for a few minutes, grabbed her weapon from the front seat and then ordered her into the vehicle and told her to drive, all the while under threats of violence.

At around 9:30 p.m., after driving around the Verde Valley area for several hours, the suspect reportedly ordered the victim to drive to a Circle K convenience store. The store is located in the city limits of Cottonwood on Main Street. The suspect attempted to rob a person at gunpoint who was using the pay phone just outside the store, without any success. Meantime, the victim was reportedly told by the suspect to go into the store to purchase some beer, which she did. She returned to the vehicle, then she and the suspect drove off.

After leaving the Circle K the victim was ordered to drive to a remote area in the forest where the suspect sexually assaulted her for several hours. Sometime the next morning the suspect ordered her to once again drive throughout the Verde Valley. At around 3 p.m. Thursday, the two were at the intersection of Arizona 89A and Arizona 260. The suspect reportedly exited the victim’s car and was last seen running toward the Wal-Mart store still in possession of the victim’s weapon, a .357 caliber revolver. The victim’s car is a white 1994 Mazda 323.

Anyone who may have been at that intersection at around 3 p.m. Thursday and who may have seen this suspect running from this area, or if you have any information regarding this suspect please contact the nearest law enforcement agency. Specific contacts are: YCSO Detective Pam Watkins at 520-567-7710 or Cottonwood Detective Steve Butler at 520-634-4246. Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Yavapai Silent Witness 800-932-3232.

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