Suspect Threatened Teen With Knife Before Sex Assault at Oceanside Campground

The suspect threatened the victim with a blade and told her to keep quiet

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NBC 7 has learned more about the sexual assault reported at an Oceanside campground last month, including how the attacker threatened his teenage victim and who else he may have come in contact with.

The 15-year-old girl, who was on a week-long camping trip with her religious group, was asleep alone in her tent when a man crept in and assaulted her on Sep. 26, according to the Oceanside Police Department.

NBC 7's Dave Summers spoke to campers who were shocked by the alleged attack.

Around two dozen children and as many adults were part of the group, the North County San Diego Shabbat. Their stay at Guajome Regional Park was part of a Jewish holiday celebration, the Feast of Tabernacles, according to Program Director Michael Ladda.

Ladda said the victim's father was sleeping in a tent right next to his daughter's at the time of the attack. The victim's mother was asleep in a van on site, OPD said.

The attacker snuck into the victim's tent under the cover of darkness and threatened her with a knife. He told her if she kept quiet she wouldn't get hurt, Ladda said.

The assault lasted for 5 to 10 minutes before the attacker snuck out without being spotted.

Ladda called the attack a "gut punch," and said the entire group is devastated.

Since NBC 7 first reported the story on Tuesday, a more detailed description of the suspect has become available.

The man is thought to be in his 30s, and 5 feet 9 inches tall with a fit build. He has brown eyes and hair with beard stubble, and smelled of cologn. The victim told police her attacker had tattoos on both arms, including a swastika surrounded by roses and skulls with the letters "BOSU" underneath.

The suspect may have encountered another camper in the group earlier in the week, Ladda said.

A man in the group told Ladda he returned to his tent after a shower to find a man under his bed covers. The man escaped the tent and rode away on a dirt bike, Ladda said.

The man's description matched that of the sex assault suspect provided to police days later.

"You think you are safe but there are few controls over who comes and goes from the campground," Ladda told NBC 7 over the phone.

Ladda's group came to Guajome Park for a camp trip two years ago. He said the trip last month will be their last.

Guajome Regional Park Campground is a popular place. Some campers NBC 7 spoke with on Tuesday said the alleged sexual assault caught them off guard.

"It's a total surprise, a total surprise. A total anomaly," said Ray Delgado, who lives nearby. He said he comes to the park often, but that was his first time camping there.

Becki Myes is also a nearby resident and frequent visitor.

"[The assault] is really sad, especially in a wonderful quiet place like this," Myes said. "Never heard of such a thing.”

OPD is investigating the assault. A spokesperson for the County Parks and Recreation Department said they’ve increased patrols on the campground.

A camper who checked in Tuesday told NBC 7 they heard about the attack from one of the rangers.

At this point, investigators are calling it a random attack and that there is no known relationship between the victim and her attacker.

"This world that we live in, there are so many things that can come about. You just have to be alert basically all the time," Delgado said.

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