Modesto man arrested in ‘heinous,’ random attack on 62-year-old woman

Alexander Knab. Suspect in an attempted homicide that occurred on September 12, 2019 in Modesto, Calif.
Alexander Knab. Suspect in an attempted homicide that occurred on September 12, 2019 in Modesto, Calif. Modesto Police Dept.

A 21-year-old Modesto man was arrested Thursday on charges of beating a 62-year-old woman unconscious and robbing her of her walker and backpack.

The random, unprovoked attack on the transient woman took place at 2:30 a.m. in the 1600 block of Yosemite Boulevard, Modesto Police Sgt. Kalani Souza said in an email.

“As she was walking around a business complex on the north side of the road, she was brutally attacked by an African-American (man),” Souza said.

The suspect beat the woman unconscious and continued to beat her as she lay there motionless. The attack was captured on a nearby surveillance camera.

“The victim was left in a pool of blood, unconscious, near the shopping complex,” Souza said.

When the suspect left, he took her walker and backpack and left the victim lying on the ground covered in blood.

No one found the woman for six hours, Souza said.

At 8:30 a.m. a passerby spotted her at a nearby business complex and called 911. The victim was conscious and had moved from the location she’d been assaulted but was still covered in blood.

The Modesto Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit was called to the scene. They reviewed the surveillance footage and circulated a photo of the suspect to all detectives and patrol officers.

The victim was taken to a local hospital where she is being treated for severe injuries.

Sgt. Tom Fara, who supervises the Violent Crimes Unit, in a press released described the crime as ‘heinous.’ He called for all available investigators with his unit, as well as the Major Crimes Unit, to locate the suspect on Thursday.

“This truly was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Fara said in the press release. “We had no identifying information for the suspect and no witnesses to the crime. Thanks to the observant skills by a detective assigned to Major Crimes we were able to locate the suspect, and take this violent offender off of the streets and prevent another unprovoked attack.”

On Thursday afternoon the detective located the suspect, 21-year-old Alexander Knab, at the transit center in downtown Modesto. Alexander was taken into custody, and later confessed to the violent crime, Souza said.

Knab was booked in the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery and parole violation.

Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Letsinger with the Violent Crimes Unit at 209-342-9667. Tipsters may also remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers at 209-541-4636.