DENVER — Denver police are investigating if one suspect is responsible for two similar assaults around the Sloan Lake area — one on the path around the lake and one a few blocks south of it.
On Thursday around 7:30 p.m., a woman called police and said she had been walking around Sloan Lake Park near W. 17th Avenue and N. Tennyson Street when she was attacked by a man. She said she was able to fight him off and run away after three men stood between her and the attacker, according to an arrest affidavit.
Police met with the woman at 9 p.m. to learn more about the crime.
She told police that she had been walking on the trail around the lake around 7:30 p.m. when she passed a Hispanic man sitting on a bench. He made a statement that she didn’t hear, so she continued walking, according to an arrest affidavit.
After she passed him, she heard something behind her and turned to see the man running toward her. She started to run from him, but he caught up to her and put his arm around her in a choke hold position, according to an arrest affidavit. He then tackled her to the ground.
The woman kicked the suspect and screamed for help. Three witnesses, who were not identified, came to help her and were able to get the suspect off the woman, according to an arrest affidavit. They told the woman to run away and call 911. She was able to get home, where she called police.
The woman told the officer that the suspect was about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, heavy set and had black hair and brown eyes. He had been wearing a white T-shirt and gold chain necklace. She said the witnesses who helped her were three heavyset black males, according to an arrest affidavit.
Later that evening, a person reported another assault along the 1400 block of N. Perry Street, four blocks south of Sloan Lake. Police arrested Daniel Martinez, 27, in connection to this incident around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. When he was found, he had a cut on his lip, according to an arrest affidavit.
Jay Casillas with the Denver Police Department confirmed this was a sexual assault similar in nature to the Sloan Lake attack.
On Friday afternoon, a detective found that the description of the suspect from the Sloan Lake attack matched that of Martinez, and that the assaults had occurred in the same area.
Martinez is being held for investigation of sexual assault, but has not been formally charged.
Denver police said they want to speak to the three Good Samaritans who helped the woman during the Sloan Lake attack. Casillas said they are still investigating if that attack was sexual in nature because of the close proximity and time to the second attack.
According to court documents, Martinez has an open warrant out of Arvada for misdemeanor child abuse from February 2019. He also has an open case in Commerce City related to sexual contact without consent in September 2017, which he pleaded not guilty to in March 2019.
Anybody with information on these incidents is asked to call the 24/7 Metro Denver Crime Stoppers line at 720-913-7867.