Police search for man who tried to abduct woman jogging in Westmoreland County

LIGONIER TWP, Pa. — Ligonier Valley police are searching for a man suspected in an attempted kidnapping in Ligonier Township.

Assistant police chief Michael Matrunics told Channel 11 that just before 10 a.m. Sunday, a young woman jogging near a shaded area on a popular walking trail on Route 381 was approached by a man with a gun.

“A girl was running on a back road, and she was approached by a male in a rural area (in Rector) where there are no homes and then this incident occurred,” said Matrunics.

Police are unsure if the suspect had been following the woman. They said he pulled his sedan in front of her, got out of the car, and demanded she get in the trunk.

The suspect fired multiple shots.

The victim was not shot, but police believe the suspect may have been trying to scare her into following his orders.

But what happened next, Matrunics said, was only a miracle.

“We had someone driving by going to church in the morning who intercepted and stopped what was going on. With them being there at the right time and right place, it was good,” said Matrunics.

The jogger was able to fight off her attacker until those churchgoers arrived, and she got to safety unharmed.

“This young girl is a strong young girl. She was very vigilant, and you know I think putting all that together is why we’re investigating this versus something different,” said Matrunics.

Police are calling this incident ‘out of the norm’ but are still urging caution as they search for the suspect, and suggested runners carry a cellphone, mace and use other protective measures.

“Be aware and put yourself at a location where there might be people too,” said Matrunics.

Police are actively searching for the suspect who they described as a white male between 50 to 60 years old, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with a “scruffy” white beard.

The suspect was driving an older model blue sedan with chipping paint.

Anyone with information about the vehicle or the suspect is asked to contact 911.

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