Violent sexual assault in Downtown Vancouver leaves female senior in wheelchair with life-threatening injuries

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      Vancouver police are expressing shock about a brutal attack that took place on an elderly individual with mobility issues last week.

      On September 9, Vancouver police responded to a call from staff at a care home in Downtown Vancouver about a 76-year-old woman who sustained life-threatening injuries during an assault.

      Investigators believe the assault may have taken place sometime between 2 p.m. on September 7 and 11 a.m. on September 9.

      The victim is believed to frequent the area of Cathedral Square park near Dunsmuir and Richards streets, and she may have been in that area either before or after the assault.

      “The victim, who uses a motorized wheelchair, suffered significant bruising and discolouration on her face,” Vancouver Police Department (VPD) spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin stated in a news release. “Because of the extent of her injuries, she’s been unable to tell us exactly what happened.”

      The suspect is described as a white male with a stocky build, who appears to be between 35 and 40 years old.

      He has light to dark brown shaggy hair with a stubble beard, and is described as having wide-set eyes and a short neck. 

      At the time of the attack, he was wearing a black or navy blue-coloured jacket.

      “This is a shocking case, and the victim’s injuries are some of the worst we’ve seen,” Visintin said. “We don’t yet know who did this or where it happened, so we’re asking everyone to be vigilant until we find out more.”

      Over 30 officers are involved in this investigation.

      Anyone with information about this assault, or anyone who saw an elderly woman in a wheelchair with bruising on her face between September 7 and September 9, is asked to call VPD investigators at 604-717-0602.

      Previously, the VPD had reported a notable increase in sexual assaults in July, and investigations had been launched for sexual assaults at the False Creek seawall, Granville Island, Champlain Heights, and Pacific Centre mall. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.