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Sexual Predator Targeting Hikers Unlike Anything Colorado Cops Have Seen Before | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

“We haven’t seen anything like this,” says Jacki L. Kelley, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office who’s been with the department since 2000. “We’ve had sexual assaults that occurred in our mountain parks and open-space areas and hiking trails over the years. But not a series like this.”

Recently, a serial sexual predator has been targeting female hikers in Jefferson County’s Conifer and Evergreen areas — accosting them while naked, then fondling himself and often his victims, including three women in one day.

“From time to time we’ll get one,” Kelley tells Westword. “But three incidents in one day is shocking.”

To make matters worse, the serial pervert has been getting more and more aggressive with each new attack, according to authorities — and he’s showing no signs of slowing.

“The suspect’s behavior, besides the fact that it’s obviously shocking, is becoming more brazen, more aggressive,” Kelley says. “The last incident that we had was on Monday [July 24], and that’s when he approached the woman and tried to kind of rip down her shorts and rip off her shirt. And so that was the most aggressive of each of his contacts with women. So our greatest concern is, where do we go from here? Where does this suspect go from here? Again, this is not something that we deal with commonly, so it is unique — and this is a very dangerous person.”

click to enlarge

The serial predator has been confronting women on hiking trails in Alderfer Three Sisters Park in Evergreen and Flying J Ranch Park in Conifer, seen here.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

According to the JCSO, authorities have been receiving reports about the man since April 3, when he targeted his first victim along a trail in Flying J Ranch Park in Conifer. The naked suspect allegedly grabbed a female hiker’s buttocks.

Two months later, on June 13, the same suspect “confronted a female victim” at Alderfer Three Sisters Park in Evergreen “and began masturbating,” says the sheriff’s office.

On July 18, he allegedly approached three different women at Flying J Ranch Park in a single day, fondling two of them. He also “masturbated and engaged in sexual conversation,” according to the office.

On July 24, he struck again — confronting a female hiker while pleasuring himself before proceeding to “grab” her in an attempt to rip off her clothing. “The suspect is described as a white male, twenty to thirty years old, fit/athletic build with dark-colored hair,” the JCSO says. “In each incident, the suspect has run off into the woods, avoiding capture.”

At first, investigators didn’t realize the April and June cases were related, according to Kelley. It wasn’t until the three women came forward and reported being targeted on July 18 that the office was able to link all of them.

“The fact that he hit three times in one day was kind of a marker for us to try and compare this to other cases to see whether we had a similar profile,” Kelley says. “And that’s kind of what brought us to where we are today. We looked at what his M.O. was, started searching back through other cases to see whether this was three unique incidents that happened in one day or are they related to potentially other cases, and just through that research we thought maybe these would all be related.”

Kelley adds, “We would have just simply done something with the three in one day. But based on the research that we’ve done, we think that they’re all likely related. And that’s why I need to let our public know, so we can try to catch a suspect and hold them accountable for this behavior.”

Since investigators believe the incidents are all being carried out by the same person, authorities think the suspect is probably from the Jefferson County area — especially since they’ve been happening over a span of several months.

“This would likely not be somebody transient, because the first incident is back in April, and then we go for quite some time without anything happening,” Kelley explains. “Then we have a second incident in June, but it’s at a different park with a slightly different description.”

Despite the likelihood of the suspect being from Jeffco, Kelley points out that police just don’t know anything for certain at this time. “We don’t have any good suspect information,” she admits. “Who knows whether they’re local, if it’s somebody who’s driving up here from Denver, Aurora — or if there’s somebody who literally lives in the neighborhood. We just don’t know enough.”

In order to find out more, the JCSO has contacted law enforcement agencies across Colorado to see if there’s any connection to other cases or investigations. “We’re reaching out to jurisdictions along the Front Range, in Boulder, Douglas County and others to see if they have any series or pattern sex assaults like this. There’s no reason for us to believe that it’s just limited to us. So we’ve got to do the work to see if any other jurisdictions have similar cases.”

While no hikers have been physically harmed in any of the incidents, authorities worry that may soon change.

“I would say that this person is extremely dangerous,” Kelley warns. “The most important part of all this is making sure the public knows so that they can make decisions — safer decisions — for themselves until we can find this person.”

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