Woman reports sexual assault on Belleville bike trail

A 56-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning on the bike trail near the corner of South 6th Street and Centreville Avenue, according to a posting Belleville Police made on its Facebook page.

The woman told police she left a business in the 1500 block of West Main street and walked home via the bike trail. The woman reported she was approached by a male subject she did not know. The male pushed her to the ground and sexually assaulted, according to police.

The victim described her assailant as a black male in his late 20s or early 30s, between 5 feet, 5 inches and 5 feet, 7 inches in height, and weighing 150 to 170 pounds, according to police.

“We are following some very strong leads right now,” said Det. Sgt. Mark Heffernan. “We don't have any reason to believe that this is anything less than a valid report. We will continue to investigate every lead that comes in.”

The victim sustained cuts and scrapes but no serious physical injures, said Heffernan, who encouraged women to be vigilant about taking precautions to ensure their safety.

Police checked the area described by the victim and located evidence to support the victim’s account of what transpired. Belleville detectives responded to the scene located by patrol officers and collected evidence.

Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact the Detective Division at 618-234-1212 or St. Louis Regional Crimestoppers, 866-371-8477.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

News-Democrat reporter Beth Hundsdorfer contributed to this report.