MALTA — Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo on Monday credited strangers with getting help to the woman attacked over the weekend on the Zim Smith Trail and another stranger with helping lead investigators to the suspect.
The first set of strangers found the woman after the attack and summoned police and paramedics to the scene. The other person reported to deputies seeing a suspicious man in the area and took note enough to remember the man’s vehicle description, Zurlo said.
Deputies soon tracked down the vehicle and the suspect and ultimately charged him in the attack, Zurlo said.
Tyler J. Gaston, 26, of Clifton Park, was arrested Saturday and charged with one count each of second-degree assault and first-degree sexual abuse, both felonies.
Gaston is accused of approaching the woman from behind as she was on the trail in the area of Ruhle Road South and attacking her, according to allegations filed in court.
He fled and the woman then got help from the other people on the trail, Zurlo said.
Deputies canvassing the area found the witness who reported the suspicious person and the vehicle description.
The victim suffered an injury to her face in the attack and was treated on scene by Malta EMS.
“My thoughts are with her,” Zurlo said of the victim. “I can’t thank the public enough.”
Zurlo also praised his deputies and investigators with making the arrest.
Gaston was arraigned and ordered held on $100,000 bond, court officials said. He has since posted the bond, Zurlo said.
Zurlo said the attack is the first time he can remember something like that happening on the trail. He said the department monitors the trail via a bike patrol.
He urged anyone on the trail to be aware of their surroundings and, if they see anyone suspicious, to call 911 and deputies will come to investigate.