Boy, 16, arrested for attacking, sexually assaulting woman

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy who they say attacked and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman on Thursday just after 1 p.m.

It happened on the canal bank near 20th Street and Baseline Road, according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Dept.

The woman was walking on the canal bank toward South Mountain Community College when the teen came up behind her and grabbed her, pulling her down the embankment to a semi-secluded area of the landscape. 

He then strangled her until she became unconscious and sexually assaulted her.

"It's a savage attack," Thompson said. "It's alarming when a person in broad daylight decides that they can attack a person (and) sexually assault them in front of everybody in the world."

The suspect fled on foot.

Witnesses called police, thinking two males were fighting. Responding officers located the suspect running along the canal bank near 16th Street and detained him.

It was later determined that he was the person who attacked the woman and police said he admitted his involvement in the assault. He reportedly told police he attacked the woman because she looked vulnerable.

"It is frightening. A young man felt the need or felt that he could attack a woman and get away with it," Thompson said.

The suspect is being held at the Maricopa County Juvenile Court Center on numerous felony charges.

Police said they expect him to be charged as an adult for these crimes. He's facing charges of aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual abuse and sexual assault.

The woman was transported to a local hospital and treated for her injuries.

Women attending the community college said they are going to be more vigilant following the attack.

"It frightens me that something like that could happen," student Sandra Arteaga said. "I'm going to be more aware of my surroundings."