Manhunt continues for man who harassed jogger near Lynden

Deputies stopped red vans in area

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 8, 2013 

Sheriff's deputies now believe a jogger south of Lynden experienced aggressive sexual harassment - but not an attempted abduction - in an incident that sent law enforcement scrambling to find a man driving a beat-up reddish Dodge minivan Thursday, Aug. 8.

Sometime around noon, a jogger pushing her child in a stroller on Thiel Road near Abbott Road noticed she was being followed by a man in a red minivan, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

The van drove by her three times, then pulled over. She went to see what he wanted, and he "engaged in lewd conduct and verbal comments" about her looks, according to the sheriff's office. At some point the man reached his hand out the window at her.

She escaped to a nearby home to call 911.

The man drove off in the van, possibly made in the '90s, with faded light burgundy or maroon paint, and a tinted back window. The victims described him as Hispanic, in his 20s, about 5-foot-6, thin, with light facial hair. He wore a beanie cap and dark clothes.

Originally, deputies suspected the man had tried to kidnap the woman. Throughout the afternoon, deputies stopped vans matching the description but hadn't found the man. A U.S. border helicopter assisted in a manhunt.

Several hours after the incident, the sheriff's office announced further investigation revealed it was no longer considered an abduction attempt.

Anyone with tips should call 911.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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