Prince William County Police investigate sex assault in Gainesville near Lee Highway

A Prince William County Police car. (WJLA file photo)

GAINESVILLE, Va. (WJLA) - Prince William County Police were searching for a man who attacked and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman in Gainesville Wednesday night.

Police said the woman was walking in the area of Lee Highway/Route 29 and the Gainesville Square Shopping Center when a man approached her from behind and shoved her down an embankment. He then sexually assaulted her.

The woman reportedly fought with the man for several minutes before she was able to break free and climb out of the embankment.

A passer-by heard her screaming as she climbed out and stopped to help her.

The attacker was last seen running in the woods near Lee Highway.

Police described him as a Hispanic man, between 25 and 35 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a muscular but thin build. He had short, dark hair in a crew cut, no facial hair, and was wearing a white t-shirt or tank top and baggy jeans. Police said he did not appear to have a weapon.

Police said the man may have some injuries to his face, shoulder and hands from his struggle with the victim.

Prior to the offense, police said the man was seen riding a bike in the area.

Police asked anyone with information relating to this attack to call Crime Solvers at 703-670-3700 or 1-866-411-TIPS. Callers don’t have to give their name, just the information. Tipsters can earn up to a $1,000 cash reward.