Police hunt suspects in brutal assault
Police were following a number of tips Monday in the wake of a brutal attack on Independence Pass Saturday night that left a teenage girl hospitalized.Two men picked up the girl Saturday evening, saying they’d give her a ride to the nearest bus station, according to her statements to police. The men drove up the pass, pulled her out of the car and beat her repeatedly with a golf club, police say. The victim was found alongside the road at mile marker 49, near a narrow hairpin turn. A motorist picked her up and took her to Aspen Valley Hospital; she was later flown to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction to be treated for head injuries. The girl remained hospitalized Monday.Police received around 15 to 20 tips from citizens yesterday. The case is being investigated by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, with Aspen police assisting. The suspects could face attempted murder charges.”We’ve dedicated quite a few people to this – the Aspen Police Department is assisting us and other agencies up and down the valley are willing to help,” said Joe DiSalvo, head of investigations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. “Everyone has a real authentic interest in figuring out who these men are and arresting them.”DiSalvo said the teenager had scrapes and bruises on her forearms and shoulders, indicating that she had her arms up and was trying to protect herself from the attack.The victim, interviewed at Aspen Valley Hospital by a sheriff’s deputy, was able to provide a number of details about the incident and her attackers, DiSalvo said. The girl is a minor and her name is not being released. DiSalvo said she is a runaway from Bakersfield, Calif., who had been in Aspen for a couple of days.She told police she was near the public bathrooms next to Wagner Park around 7 p.m. when she met the men. She asked them for a ride to a bus station and they got into a white, older model, four-door SUV. The vehicle may have been a Chevrolet Blazer with black pinstripes. The girl said the car had tinted windows and an elaborate stereo, including a subwoofer in the rear.The girl said on the way up the pass both men made sexual advances toward her, but she resisted. Near mile marker 49 the driver pulled over and asked the girl to find a battery on the vehicle’s floor. When she did, she was pulled out of the car by her hair and both men struck her with a golf club as she tried to crawl away.The men got back into the SUV and drove back toward Aspen, she said.DiSalvo described the girl’s injuries as serious.”I’d say these men are dangerous – if you beat someone up with a weapon you are dangerous,” DiSalvo said. “We’ve had quite a few leads to follow up on – some we’re developing on our own, some from the information she gave us and some from the public.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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