Finding suspect in brutal stranger attack is top priority for Madison PD

MADISON (WKOW) — Police say they’re putting every available resource into finding a man who brutally attacked a woman in downtown Madison.

The 19-year-old UW-Madison student was taken to a hospital with injuries to her face after someone she didn’t know grabbed her from behind and beat her while she was walking on Langdon Street early Sunday morning .

“This is a stranger attack, very brutal, lots of injuries, on someone who was just going home, so this is priority number one for the police department right now,” said Madison police spokesperson Joel DeSpain.

Police say witnesses saw the man drag the victim toward Lake Mendota.

“Whether or not they scared this stranger off, we don’t know at this point, but we do know that these good Samaritans went down, found her, got her the help she needed,” DeSpain told 27 News.

Police say they’re doing everything they can to find the suspect. There are more patrol officers canvassing the area and searching surveillance video for any clues to lead them to a suspect. Investigators released a picture of the suspect Monday night.

Still, they’ve taken many calls from concerned parents of UW students.

“I know that there are a lot of students who are frightened by what happened. I know a lot of their parents are frightened. We share those same concerns. We’re going to do everything we can to find this person and lock them up,” he said.

Police say while the victim did nothing wrong, it may be a good idea for people to be extra careful. Walk with others if possible and stay in well-lit areas if going out late at night.

UW student Kimberly Gilbert usually feels comfortable walking her dog on Langdon Street, but she’s a little more nervous to go out late at night now.

She was relieved to hear people nearby were looking out for the victim.

“I feel like a lot of people would get scared at that situation, wouldn’t want to help, they just kind of turn a blind eye, but for people to actually do that, that’s really cool,” Gilbert told 27 News.

Gilbert plans to pay careful attention to her surroundings and take extra precautions, as the search for a suspect continues.

“I have my phone with me now that I normally wouldn’t have, make sure I’ve got my keys,” she said.

Police say because they don’t have a suspect right now, they’re not sure what motivated the man to attack the young woman. Stranger assaults are rare in Madison, according to police.

The victim was released from the hospital Monday afternoon.

More at WKOW 27 News

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