CLIVE, Iowa -- What seemed to be a simple request from a stranger along the Clive Greenbelt Trail turned into the assault of a teenage girl on Tuesday.
"A male had attracted her attention to ask if she could come off the trail to view something," said Sergeant Richard Stoen of the Clive Police Department.
When the unidentified 18-year-old female refused, the male suspect turned violent. Sergeant Stoen said, "He brandished what appeared to be a weapon, a handgun and tried to force her off the trail."
She fought off her predator only to be attacked again.
"He attempted to flee and he had an object of some sort and struck her a few times in the back of the head," added Stoen.
Miraculously she escaped, screaming for help as the male fled on a BMX-style bicycle and remains at-large. Stoen described the suspect as "a white male, black slicked back hair, a little longer hair. Wearing a leather jacket and in his mid-twenties."
The weapon was found by investigators and turned out to be a B.B. gun made to look like a 9 millimeter hand gun.
Stoen said, "The weapon is going to be treated as if it were a regular weapon and not just a B.B. gun because the person was intimidated by what she believed to be an authentic weapon."
After the assault, the trail remained in use, with outdoor lovers trusting in the trail's safety.
Kelly Knoff said, "When you hear about stuff like this, you just think about it and look up ways to become more prepared, I guess."
While it's not a catch-all, the trail system is equipped with mile markers that can pinpoint trail users' location in the event of an emergency.
"I think it`s nice because you can easily call someone to come and get you or to alert somebody where you are instead of saying, 'I'm on the trail,'" said Lauren Jahn.
Authorities hope it's not a story they'll see often on the trail, but thankfully it's one of survival.
"She's a very brave individual and she'll be commended for what she's done," said Stoen.
The victim is expected to recover and is under observation at a local hospital. The unidentified suspect was last seen on 100th street in Clive shortly after the afternoon attack.