Suspect search continues after a string of sexual assaults in Fresno

Crime

Students advised to walk in groups as the suspect is still on-the-loose

FRESNO, California (KGPE) — After a string of sexual assaults on Fresno’s Cedar Avenue, some students say it’s not surprising.

Fresno Police continue to ask for the public’s help to find the suspect in a string of sexual assaults on Cedar Avenue, between McKinley and Olive. Six girls, between the ages of 13 to 18, have been assaulted between Jan. 6 and Feb. 18.

Commander of the Family Justice Bureau, Lt. Mark Hudson, said all victims were alone when attacked and most of the attacks happened in the morning when students were walking to school. One incident happened when the victim was near her school building.

McLane High School student Maria Vallodolid isn’t surprised by the news. She walks Cedar Avenue often and said she’s had some close calls.

“It was around 6:30 a.m. one time and I was walking to meet my friend. There was this white truck, then the guy slowed down next to me,” Vallodolid recalled. “I ran to my friend, and then when the man saw I was with a guy, he took off really fast.”

Hudson said each victim described the suspect would run up and inappropriately touch them. The suspect is described as an Asian or Hispanic man, stands at 5’5″ to 6″, and always wears a hoodie and prescription glasses. It’s possible the suspect is a homeless man in the area.

A spokesperson for Fresno Unified School District said the victims are students at Duncan Polytechnical, McLane High, and Yosemite Middle School. In a message to families, the district, the district advises students to walk in groups and to stay off their cell phones while walking so they can be aware of their surroundings.

It’s advice Vallodolid already lives by. She always walks in groups and gets rides when she can.

“If I am alone, I have to carry pepper spray,” she said.

Increased patrols are in place on the stretch of Cedar Avenue where the assaults took place. That change will be in effect until further notice.

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