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Manito Park attacks has Spokane runners on alert

Spokane Special Victims detectives have identified a person of interest, but at this time have not made an arrest.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane runners are now on high alert after reports of two separate attacks near Manito Park last week. 

According to Spokane police, in these two separate incidents, the suspect ran up behind the women, grabbed them in a sensitive area, and ran away. Spokane Special Victims detectives have identified a person of interest, but at this time have not made an arrest.  

Investigators say they are not releasing a description of the suspect at this time, as detectives are working to verify pertinent information.

Jill Johnson is part of a Facebook group for Spokane runners. She said news of the attacks at Manito has spread quickly among her fellow runners, which is why her awareness on the trails is heightened. 

“I'm grateful for our police department for taking such quick action and the new stations for reporting it so that we know it," Johnson said. "We're spreading the word so that we're more careful. This now reminds me, again, to maybe not keep my earbuds in when I run or being mindful what time of day it is.” 

Right now, she is training for a 10K race and eventually a half-marathon. You’ll likely find her working out on the South Hill. But for now, she is steering clear of Manito Park.  

“I try not to live in fear, but it also is a reminder that I need to be worried that this is happening," Johnson said. "I'm going to stay away from Manito Park for a while. I’ll look for opportunities to run or walk with a friend. And if I do go alone to make sure I text my husband and let him know where I'm going to be.”  

In the meantime, detectives will continue tracking any leads. If you have any information regarding these incidents, or similar acts, you are asked to call crime check at (509) 456-2233, reference case #2022-20010293.