Woman attacked while hiking Avila Beach trail, officials say

Hikers come down the Ontario Ridge trail in October 2014.
Hikers come down the Ontario Ridge trail in October 2014.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man who tried to abduct a woman on an Avila Beach hiking trail.

The attempted kidnapping took place at approximately 2:45 p.m. Monday on the Ontario Ridge Trail, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said in a news release.

According to Cipolla, the woman was walking along the trail when a man began following her.

The man grabbed the woman and tried to drag her into nearby bushes, Cipolla said, but she broke free and ran down the trail toward the Pirates Cove parking lot. The suspect took off in the opposite direction.

Although several sheriff’s deputies searched the area with the help of a CHP helicopter, they were unable to locate the man, Cipolla said.

The woman suffered scratches to her chest and neck in the attack.

The Sheriff’s Office described the attacker as a Hispanic man in his early 50s with light-colored skin, green eyes and patchy facial hair. He was last seen shirtless wearing white mesh athletic shorts and athletic shoes, with what appeared to be a red tank top tucked into his shorts.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 781-4550.