Phoenix Police release sketch of rape suspect; victim's family hopes it will lead to his capture

FOX 10 would usually not identify a rape victim, but in this case, she and her family gave us permission to use her name and photo, hoping it will help lead to the capture of the suspect.

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Police released a sketch of the man suspected of brutally assaulting a woman in north Phoenix.

According to police, officers responded to call regarding reports of a man who was exposing and fondling himself near the Amigo Animal Clinic and a child daycare in the area of Cave Creek Road and Greenway at 3:45 p.m. on March 28.

No suspect was found, but later that day at 8:30 p.m., a woman called the police to say that she had been strangled from behind and sexually assaulted. The woman told police she believed the person who assaulted her was the same man who was seen exposing himself in the area hours earlier.

The victim's sister, Rachel Clark, says Michelle is still feeling the pain but is slowly recovering.

"Struggling with little things, like going out in public or just taking care of herself.. crying.. emotionally, she not okay."

Police say when the attack happened, the victim was leaving her job at the animal clinic. The suspect strangled the victim until she was unconscious, then raped her.

"How could this happen? How are there people like this in the world? My sweet sister.. she loves the world more than you could ever imagine. She has the biggest heart," said Rachel.

The suspect is described as a white man, 35-50 years old, 6 feet tall, with a medium build, brown curly or wavy hair shoulder-length hair and a full beard. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing jeans and a blue plaid shirt with a white thermal shirt underneath. However, Phoenix Police officials say the appearance may change with respect to clothing, hair length, and facial hair.

"There's a monster on the street who could hurt anybody at any time. He hurt my sister. He could hurt anyone."

Rachel says Michelle is loving, kind and the strongest person she knows. She believes that her sister's strength slowly recovers day by day.

"She has a heart of gold. She's worked at the vet clinic with animals for five years. Every single one is like it's her own. She pours her heart and soul into everything."

Anyone with information about the suspect or his whereabouts can leave an anonymous tip by calling Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Silent Witness:

Fundraiser for Michelle: