19-year-old arrested in violent attack on woman jogging in Menlo Park

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Police arrested a 19-year-old East Palo Alto man in connection with a violent attack on a woman in Menlo Park this week.

Prosecutors say the woman was jogging when the suspect began following her. And her screams helped her escape. 

The man is now facing attempted rape and assault charges.

Police identified the suspect as 19-year-old Rogelio Alexander Artiga.

Police say home surveillance video helped them catch him. Investigators say just before 5 p.m. Monday afternoon, a woman was jogging in a quiet neighborhood in Menlo Park when a man began following her from behind.

The 33-year-old woman was jogging on Woodland Avenue.

She said a man starting jogging towards her and asked her, ‘Do you like to dance?”

She ignored the man and continued to run. He then followed her.

The woman dialed 911.

Investigators say that’s when Artiga grabbed her from behind and pulled her into the bushes, where he tried to sexually assault her.

The victim was able to break free.

“And this woman said enough,” San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. “She chased him out of the bushes there, screaming at him she’s going to get him for what he had done. He ran off and she did the right thing waiting for the police.”

Wagstaffe tells KRON4 it was the victim’s scream that scared him off.

“By her screaming and resisting but there was no weapon, the attacker did not have a weapon, but she made the difference by fighting,” Wagstaffe said. “Very proud of her.”

Neighbors say the path is usually busy.

“It’s a really common path,” resident Ada Chen Rekhi said. “You see dog walkers here all the time. You see families out and about. You see a decent amount of traffic on Woodland, so it was really shocking to me that it happened in broad daylight.”

Some say it’s a lesson in safety and never being too careful.

“We think that Menlo Park is super safe, and you know we kind of don’t expect to kind of hear these kinds of things happen in our neighborhood, so we’re super glad they caught the guy and really surprised it happened here,” Rekhi said.

Artiga now faces three felony charges, including attempted rape and witness persuasion.

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