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updated: 6/24/2014 7:37 PM

Man accused in North Shore Bike Path attack

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  • Denilson J. Martinez-Rodriquez

    Denilson J. Martinez-Rodriquez

  • A runner heads down the North Shore Bike Path over the Des Plaines River Trail along Route 176 last week. A suspect has been arrested and charged in an assault.

      A runner heads down the North Shore Bike Path over the Des Plaines River Trail along Route 176 last week. A suspect has been arrested and charged in an assault.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer


A Honduran citizen living in Waukegan is being held on $500,000 bail in connection with last week's attack on a female jogger along the North Shore Bike Path near Libertyville, authorities said Tuesday.

Denilson J. Martinez-Rodriguez, 21, was ordered to turn over his passport after he was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, unlawful restraint and aggravated battery in a public place, said Cynthia Vargas, spokeswoman for the Lake County state's attorneys office. He's in the Lake County jail, Vargas said.

He was arrested Monday after he was spotted following women who were jogging on a bike path at Gowe Memorial Park in Gurnee, Vargas said.

On June 15, a 22-year-old female victim was running west on the North Shore Bike Path when she noticed water had pooled under the Route 176 underpass near Libertyville. She climbed up rocks on the side of a hill to avoid the water, then heard noises behind her, Vargas said.

A man, who police said they later identified as Martinez-Rodriguez, came up from behind, grabbed her around the waist and pressed his chest to her back, Vargas said.

The victim elbowed the attacker twice in the ribs, called for help and scrambled up the side of the embankment. The suspect fled the scene, Vargas said.

Lake County Forest Preserve officers pulled video from a neighboring gas station that showed the suspect, Vargas said. The video also included a picture of the suspect's vehicle, she said.

On Monday, police were called about a man who was said to be bothering joggers on the Gowe Park bike trail, Vargas said.

Martinez-Rodriguez was taken into custody and questioned by the rangers about the North Shore Bike Path attack. He admitted to the attack to police, saying it was a moment of weakness, Vargas said.

Martinez-Rodriguez appeared in front of Judge Raymond Collins in bond court Tuesday, where he was ordered held on bail. He must post 10 percent of the $500,000 to be released, Vargas said.

John Tannahill, the Lake County Forest Preserve chief of police, praised the effort of law enforcement officials throughout Lake County for helping with the investigation.

"A joint effort by many departments led to this arrest," he said

Tannahill also credited the victim for being observant of her surroundings and calling police immediately when she saw something suspicious.

He said the attack is a good reminder for people to be aware of surroundings at all times when using Lake County Forest Preserve trails, or any other community trail system, as well as the need to always put personal safety first, carry a cellphone and bring along a friend when possible, he said.

Martinez-Rodriguez is due back in court July 3.

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