New York college issues bike path warning

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(Update: Police set up tip line for information regarding “bike path rapist” at 1 (877) 277-1990.)

The University at Buffalo is urging people not to travel alone on bicycle paths on campus or in western New York after a recent homicide was linked to the so-called “bike path rapist.”

The warning was issued after police linked the late September killing of Joan Diver, 45, to the unknown man responsible for nine sexual assaults, including two homicides, against women between 1986 and 1994.

Police used DNA from the crime scene to connect the Diver killing to the assailant in the previous cases. Diver's body was found Oct. 1 along a Newstead bike path, two days after she disappeared. She had been beaten and strangled, although not sexually assaulted as had the previous victims.

The university suggested not to go out alone on campus bike paths or on any trails in western New York:

“There is always safety in numbers.  If you intend to walk, jog or bicycle on a bicycle path or in other areas, please do so with a friend.”

The Buffalo News reported that five of the previous attacks occurred in Buffalo, three in Amherst and one in Hamburg. The man attacked his victims on bike paths, parks, or secluded shortcuts. One occurred on a bike path in the North Campus at UB in 1990.

Also see “Staying safe on remote bicycle trails” about other assaults and tips on safety.

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