Suspect in Point Dume park attack charged

The man, who was arrested last Friday, is a convicted felon and is described as a drug user and transient.

By Laura Tate / Editor

Charges were filed Tuesday at Van Nuys Superior Court against the man who attempted to rape a woman who was jogging at Point Dume Preserve State Park three weeks ago. The woman had thrown herself off a cliff to escape the suspect.

Christian Marcus Verdin, 31, was charged with assault to commit rape, robbery, grand theft auto and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station officials.

Verdin was arrested last week Friday in an area within the City of San Bernardino and taken into custody without incident.

The 35-year-old victim had been jogging in Point Dume Preserve State Park on March 12. At the conclusion of her run she walked to the edge of a cliff and was then grabbed from behind by the suspect, who, she told authorities, attempted to sexually assault her. The victim struggled and was able to break free; she jumped and slid approximately 150 feet down the cliff.

A local resident who lives in the area said he talked to several witnesses who heard the woman’s cries and went to her aid.

The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment. She sustained abrasions and bruises predominantly from the fall down the face of the cliff.

On March 30, Malibu/Lost Hills Station detectives received notification that the Los Angeles County Crime Lab had identified a suspect in the attack. Crime Lab technicians obtained DNA samples from items of evidence recovered from the crime scene on the day of the attack. A check through a DNA databank revealed a match to Verdin, who was on parole for burglary committed in 2008.

“He’s been a convicted felon and due to the felony arrest his DNA was obtained,” said Detective Tom Lewis of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

DNA samples were taken from a bottle found at the scene and from fingernail scratches from the victim. It is believed Verdin used a knife or scissors during the attack, but authorities have yet to recover any items from the crime scene.

A thorough background check of the suspect’s criminal history through various department investigative resources revealed he had prior addresses in, and he frequented, the City of San Bernardino. Los Angeles County Sheriff Department detectives worked with the San Bernardino Police Department in the attempt to locate and arrest Verdin.

Verdin, who was described by Sheriff officials as a transient and a drug user, was arrested at his parents’ home in San Bernardino, where he occasionally stays.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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