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Fairfax County police are investigating a report of a 16-year-old girl who was reportedly grabbed in the woods around 4 p.m. March 19 in Fairfax. The girl had just entered a path at the end of Pickett Road while walking home from Woodson High School, near Frost Elementary School, they said.

According to police, the girl said a man approached her from behind, grabbed her neck, and assaulted her. She struggled and was knocked to the ground. After a brief altercation, the girl screamed and ran to a nearby home for help. Police said they arrived within minutes but the man already had fled the scene, and remains at large.

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic man between 18 and 27 years old, around 5 feet, 8 inches tall and around 170 pounds. He had short black hair and wore a white T-shirt and shorts.

On March 14, a man fitting a similar description allegedly sexually assaulted a 24-year-old Burke woman.

Police said in that case, the woman was sexually assaulted in a wooded area in the 9700 block of Commonwealth Boulevard around 10 p.m.

“She was grabbed from behind at knifepoint and dragged into some nearby woods,” said police spokesman Bud Walker.

Walker said the man was apparently startled by a noise and fled the scene, at which point the woman was able to summon help. Police described the assault as “serious” but gave no additional details. The suspect in that case also remains at large.

Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said police patrols in the area will be stepped up as a result of the two incidents, but that it is “too soon to tell” if they are related.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com