Sexual assaults along Temecula hiking and biking trail lead to Murrieta man’s arrest

UPDATED: Thursday, July 30, 3:20 p.m.

See Original Story below.

TEMECULA, Calif. — Officials investigating two back-to-back assaults of women using a popular Temecula biking and hiking trail announced today the arrest of a man they say was responsible for at least one of the separate and unrelated incidents.

Officials investigating the attacks, both of which happened on the Santa Gertrudis Creek Trail, had earlier warned area residents to use caution while using the trail.

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Officials first warned residents of the June 14 and 16 attacks on June 16; saying one woman was attacked and robbed of her cell phone on the 14th, while another was sexually assaulted two days later.

During their subsequent investigations, Southwest Sheriff’s Station investigators developed leads and gathered information that ultimately led them to identifying Travon Lee Branom, 19, of Murrieta, as a possible suspect, according to Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Edmond Seltzer.

During their investigation, Temecula sheriff’s officials received tips and gathered information that led to a Murrieta man’s arrest in connection with at least one of two attacks that occurred along Temecula’s Santa Gertrudis Creek Trail last month. RSO photos

Online jail booking records indicate Branom was arrested July 28, around 6:30 p.m., at an apartment complex on Agua Vista in Murrieta.

Although Seltzer said that Branom was arrested in connection with the June 16 sexual assault and evidence was seized in relation to that crime, he did not specify if Branom was also suspected in the attack and robbery that occurred two days earlier.

After his arrest, Branom was booked into Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of attempted rape, assault leading to serious bodily injury, and inflicting great bodily injury during the commission of a crime.

He remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail or bond and is scheduled to be arraigned at Murrieta’s Southwest Justice Center July 31.

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Anyone with information regarding these two investigations are encouraged to call Investigator Cornett at the Southwest Station at 951-696-3000. Callers can refer to incident file number TE201980087 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Crime Tips online form.


Original Story: Officials warn of similar attacks along Temecula running and bike path

Originally published June 16, 11:30 p.m.

TEMECULA, Calif. — Officials in Temecula today are warning area residents to use caution while walking or biking along one of the city’s popular recreational trails, after two local women reported separate attacks on June 14 and 16.

Both alleged assaults happened on the Santa Gertrudis Creek Trail, a walking and bike path that passes underneath Winchester Rd.

At around 10:30 a.m. on June 16, Southwest Station deputies were dispatched to the trail after receiving the report of a sexual assault, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Edmond Seltzer has since said of the two incidents.

Responding deputies found a female with minor to moderate injuries who said she had been sexually assaulted, according to Seltzer; who reported, “The victim was transported by paramedics to a local hospital where she is receiving treatment for her injuries.”

Deputies secured a crime scene, and Southwest Station investigators responded and assumed the investigation.

The suspect was described as an unknown race male, approximately 17 to 24 years of age, with medium complexion.

The victim also described her attacker as having medium height and thin build and told officials he was last seen riding a beach cruiser style bicycle.

“A similar incident occurred on June 14 in the same area where a female victim was assaulted and her cell phone stolen,” explained Seltzer; saying, “That investigation has been ongoing.”

Anyone with information regarding these two investigations are encouraged to call Investigator Cornett at the Southwest Station at 951-696-3000. Callers can refer to incident file number TE201980087 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Crime Tips online form.


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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.

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