Fredericksburg police are investigating a vicious attack over the weekend in the downtown area in which a woman was physically and sexually assaulted after getting into her car, court records show.

A 20-year-old man who worked downtown has been identified as a suspect, according to affidavits for search warrants filed in Fredericksburg Circuit Court, but had not been charged as of Wednesday.

According to the affidavit filed by Senior Detective Alexandra Tittle, the 28-year-old victim had been with friends Saturday night when she walked to her vehicle in a parking lot near George and Sophia streets.

She got into her car, but before she could close the door, a man ran up and physically assaulted her, causing severe contusions on her face.

Tittle wrote that the man strangled the woman as she tried to defend herself, then removed her jeans and underwear and sexually assaulted her.

City police were alerted to the incident sometime Sunday after the woman went to Mary Washington Hospital for treatment. She described the attack to police and gave a detailed description of her attacker.

Later that evening, Tittle wrote, police were called to a restaurant on Caroline Street for a disturbance. The suspect, who works at the restaurant and is named in the affidavit, had shown up there with a suitcase and told the manager that he was moving in. The affidavit is not clear about whether the man was talking about moving into the restaurant or in with the manager.

He told the manager it would be OK because they love each other, the affidavit states. The manager did not have a relationship with the man outside of work, Tittle wrote.

Police took the man to the hospital to be evaluated. While there, court records said, the man said in the presence of an officer that he had "married" a woman in the parking lot where the assault occurred.

The parking lot is in walking distance of the man's job and he resembles the description given by the victim, police said.

Police obtained a search warrant to take swabs from the man so his DNA can be compared with DNA recovered from the woman and from inside her vehicle. Police also got a search warrant to examine the man's suitcase; $2,000 and some LSD were recovered, court records state.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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