UPDATE 5/18 10 a.m.: Prosecutors have released an artists' rendering of the man being sought for the sexual assault of a runner along a trail in Franklin on Monday.

FRANKLIN (Somerset) — Law enforcement are investigating a sexual assault reported along part of the Delaware & Raritan Canal park trail on Monday.

Township police responded to a 911 call around 6 p.m. from a female runner, who reported being attacked by a man who had been passing on a bicycle near Blackwells Mills Road and Canal Road.

The woman said that the unknown man got off of his bike while she was running and tackled her to the ground, according to Somerset County Acting Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart.

As the man tried to sexually assault her, the woman was able to fight back and escape from the assault, immediately dialing for help.

The victim was taken to an area hospital for treatment and released.

D & R Canal State Park, 6 Mile Run trail in Franklin Township (Google Maps)
D & R Canal State Park, 6 Mile Run trail in Franklin Township (Google Maps)

Police said that the attacker is described as a Hispanic male in his mid 30s, with a heavier build, and about 5 feet 7 inches.

He was last seen wearing black pants or shorts, a green hoodie and a blue gator face covering — and fled the area on his bicycle.

The attack was reported in the area of the Six Mile Run trail, a spokesperson for the prosecutor confirmed to New Jersey 101.5.

Detectives are urging the public to contact police if they see any individual matching the description provided by the victim.

Police are working to determine if the suspect involved in this recent incident was the same man involved in two different attacks in Somerset and Middlesex Counties reported last year.

Sketches of suspects in Plainsboro, Bridgewater sexual assaults
ARCHIVE: Sketches of suspects in Plainsboro, Bridgewater 2021 sexual assaults (State Police)

2021 park rapes

In September, a woman reported being raped by a man armed with a gun as she walked inside D&R Canal park near the South Brunswick/Plainsboro border, Middlesex County authorities previously said.

In July, a woman reported being sexually assaulted by a man who had been armed with a knife in Duke Island Park, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

Anyone with potential information relating to the sexual assault can contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Sex Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at 908-873-5533 or via the STOPit app.

The STOPit app, which can be downloaded to a smart phone for free, allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos.

Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477).

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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