CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

An attack in Big Cottonwood Canyon has police looking for suspect

Jul 10, 2021, 1:51 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:11 pm
attack big cottonwood...
Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Motorists drive in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020.

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — At attack in Big Cottonwood Canyon this week has Unified Police investigators asking for the public’s help. They say a man attacked a woman and her toddler while they were hiking the Butler Fork trail to Dog Lake. 

Investigators say the attack happened Wednesday.  Unified Police Sergeant Melody Cutler said the woman was hiking with her toddler in a specially made backpack.

“She felt someone try to grab a hold of her pack and pull on it,” Cutler said.

She turned around and there was a man grabbing at her and trying to pull her into the bushes.”

The woman reportedly fought back, protecting her child first.

“She grabbed the pack and put it in front of her, but he grabbed her again and she pepper-sprayed him,” according to Cutler.

The suspect is described as a white man, taller than six feet with a long but thin blond beard.  Cutler said he was wearing a black hoodie and a surgical mask.

“We’re kind of hoping, especially since he was pepper-sprayed, that somebody saw him later on,” she said.

That pepper spray could be a significant clue.  Cutler said it’s made from peppers and smells similar to hot sauce.  Police hope someone will remember if they saw someone Wednesday afternoon who smelled like that.

 “You can’t miss it.  It would burn.  If you were in the area and you could smell it, you would also get that tingling sensation from it, as well.”

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An attack in Big Cottonwood Canyon has police looking for suspect