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Menace on the Trail: Woman runner accosted near Auburn

Search turns up no trace of two men
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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A woman runner reported to Auburn Police that she was accosted Tuesday by two men on a trail in the American River canyon below Auburn.

Police said today that they assisted State Parks rangers in trying to locate the two men reported by the woman to have approached her in what she said was a threatening manner and temporarily prevented her from traveling on a rail in the vicinity of the Canyon Creek bridge crossing near the American River confluence.

The woman posted a Facebook warning to other runners and trail users on Tuesday stating that a man with a hunting knife attached to his leg was next to a tree as she tried to pass by on the trail.

“He was on some sort of drug not just alcohol (and) started making statements about wanting to take my shorts off,” the woman said. “He had a buddy I did not know was there pop out of nowhere.”

The woman said both men started laughing and she was unable to get by them to travel farther uphill on the trail.

“So I started down and they came after me,” the woman said.

Without a knife or pepper spray for self-defense, the woman said she ran into a male hiker who had a knife and helped her get past the men and return to her vehicle. She stated that when she reached Robie Point she called law enforcement. A search followed on the ground and with a helicopter for the two men.

Auburn Police said that the search was unable to locate the two men and an investigation is now trying to identify the suspects in what is considered an “isolated incident” on the Black Hole Trail.

Both men are described as in their 30s. One has short hair and was wearing an orange and white striped shirt. The other man had brown hair and had a thin build. The second man was reported to have a sheathed knife on his hip.

Anyone who saw anyone resembling the descriptions is being asked to contact Auburn Police, State Parks or other local law enforcement. The trail where the woman reported she was accosted is part of the Auburn State Recreation Area. Auburn Police said they increased patrols in neighborhoods on the fringe of the park in response to the runner’s report.