Woman attacked with cable-like rope on East County trail, suspect at large

Woman strangled on East County trail
Posted at 3:40 PM, Oct 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-21 02:18:27-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - Sheriff's deputies are asking the public to be on the lookout for the man responsible for choking a woman on an East County trail.

A woman, identified as Carol Helton, reported being choked with a cable-like rope while walking on a trail near Starlight Mobile Home Park just after 9 a.m. Friday, according to San Diego Sheriff's Department (SDSO). Helton said the suspect wrapped the rope around her neck and nearly caused her to lose consciousness. 

"I was trying to scream, but because it was so wrapped around my neck I couldn't get the words out," Helton said. "I started choking and I felt like I was turning blue - like I was going to pass out."

Helton says the man dragged her several feet up the hillside trail. She struggled with him for several minutes.

"What was going through my head, was that he was going to have me pass out and then rape me," Helton said. "Only for the fact, that I did not have my wedding my ring. I didn't have any money on me. He couldn't take anything, so I don’t know what his purpose for me was."

But Helton was able to escape the suspect's hold. 

"I don’t know if it was by accident or what. I ended up stepping on (the attacker's) foot, and I don’t know if that’s what startled him or if he heard something, but he just stopped," she said. "Next thing I know, the cord around my neck was gone, and I’m dropping to the floor."

The suspect was last seen running toward the hillside, SDSO said, though wasn't located after a search of the surrounding area.  

Helton went to a nearby hospital for injuries to her neck.

"So many different things could have happened," Helton's husband, Billy, said. "We're very lucky to get away with just a red mark."

Helton described the suspect to deputies as a black man in his mid-30s, about 6-feet tall, and wearing a blue plaid shirt and baggy jean pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.