Surrey RCMP is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in a sexual assault in Whalley.
Shortly after 6:50 p.m. on Tuesday (Feb. 16), police responded to a report of a sexual assault at Royal Kwantlen Park, which is near Kwantlen Park Secondary and K.B. Woodward Elementary, according to a release from Surrey RCMP Thursday (Feb. 18).
Surrey RCMP said the victim initially met the male suspect near 132nd Street and 105th Avenue and they walked to the park together.
Police said when they arrived at the park, “the man produced a weapon and sexually assaulted the victim.”
The suspect, RCMP said, left the park before police arrived and the victim was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Sergeant Elenore Sturko said the attack is believed to be linked to street-level sex work and immediate steps were taken to inform sex workers in Surrey of the assault, “so they could remain vigilant to this additional risk.”
The release adds the Surrey RCMP Special Victims Unit works closely with the Surrey Women’s Centre’s SMART Van initiative, which is an emergency outreach van for women who need medical treatment after a sexual assault.
Surrey RCMP said the suspect is described as light-skinned, “with dark hair with a fade-style cut.” The release added the suspect is “possibly Middle Eastern,” about 26 years old, with a slim build. He was wearing dark clothing.
A sketch of the suspect has not yet been release, but Sturko said Surrey RCMP is working on getting one out to the public.
Surrey RCMP said officers believe there were witnesses in the area at the time of the assault. If anyone heard or saw anything, they are asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
Surrey RCMP added it is increasing patrols to areas frequented by local sex workers.
“The decision to disclose that the victim is a sex worker is being provided to ensure that persons in this vulnerable group specifically, can be aware of this incident,” reads the release.