Supporters step up to help woman assaulted by man she stopped to assist


Supporters are stepping forward to aid a woman authorities say was assaulted by a stranger after she stopped to help him.

The 23-year-old woman pulled over on I-35 near Esko earlier this month to assist a motorist seemingly stranded on the side of the road. But the Carlton County Sheriff's Office says the man then physically and sexually assaulted her.

Since then, an online fundraising campaign launched by her friends has raised thousands of dollars for the survivor.

The woman, who is identified as "Kayla," wrote on the GoFundMe account set up in her honor that the suspect "greeted (her) with a smile" and, after the attack, left her for "dead in the ditch."

Kayla survived, but the ensuing investigation has taken an emotional and financial toll.

According to KSTP, she hasn't been able to work because police took her car and cellphone as evidence. The station says her friends set up the online fundraising campaign to help her get through this difficult period. Their goal is $10,000.

As of Thursday morning, four days after the account was created, nearly a hundred donors have chipped in over $4,000. Two days ago, ABC 6 indicated the total was just about $1,300.

Meanwhile, the search for the suspect continues. This week, police released a sketch of the attacker (seen above), as well as photos of a distinctive Ford F-150 similar to one the man may have been driving.

He's described as possibly in his late 20s or early 30s, with a medium build, a short beard and short brown hair.

The Carlton County Sheriff is asking people with information to come forward.

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