Alleged Assault Case Inactive

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The report of a sexual assault in the vicinity of West Graff has turned into an inactive investigation of a simple assault.

According to Gila County Sheriff's Det. George Ratliff, the victim, a visitor to the area, was walking dogs beyond the cattle guard on West Graff on Forest Service land Oct. 15.

"When we were called in, we had a report of a sexual assault," he said.

But when Ratliff interviewed the victim at the hospital, she said she was not sexually assaulted, but had been assaulted by two Hispanic males who approached her from behind.

Ratliff said the woman reported one of them grabbed her, covering her mouth, the other came around in front of her and said something in both Spanish and English. Ratliff said the woman said she thought he had a knife.

She reported when she was attacked she lost her sunglasses, passed out and then was dragged into the bushes.

She also told Ratliff she thought she had screamed at some point.

"When we investigated the scene, we found the sunglasses, with one of the ear pieces broken off. The broken ear piece was found 270 feet west of where the glasses were discovered," he said.

Ratliff said there were no footprints in the area except the woman's and those of the dogs she had been walking and there were no drag marks.

Interviewing neighbors in the area, Ratliff said none of them had heard a scream or seen anyone matching the description the woman gave of one of the men. He said she had scratches on her belly, face and arms, but the detective said, to him, the scratches looked more like something a dog would make, not a knife.

"The woman has a history of mental illness," Ratliff said. "The police in her hometown have a charge of false reporting on her."

He said until there is any evidence to either prove or disprove the woman's claims, the case will be inactive.

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