Woman escapes attacker in Hillsboro, man arrested

Zoller was arrested on charges of assault and kidnapping

Abby Downing was attacked on her way home from work in Hillsboro on April 26, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man was arrested after allegedly attacking a 20-year-old woman in Hillsboro Wednesday afternoon.

Abby Downing was attacked on her way home from work in Hillsboro on April 26, 2017. (KOIN)
Abby Downing was attacked on her way home from work in Hillsboro on April 26, 2017. (KOIN)

Abby Downing was walking home from work around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday when she was attacked on Trailwalk Drive, about 50 feet from her apartment at Quatama Crossing.

“I saw this big white truck pull up and park and I didn’t think to much of it until he got out of his car and grabbed a big fistful of my hair and threw me on the ground and started punching me,” Downing said. “It was so terrifying.”

Downing called up her self defense classes and started fighting back, screaming and causing a commotion.

The suspect, Aaron Zoller, 39, tried to get her into the back of his truck.

“I was terrified that if I got in that car, no one would see me ever again,” Downing told KOIN 6 News.

Downing said her screams were heard and she thinks Zoller let her go because someone came outside and scared him away.

“So he just let go and I ran as fast as I could and didn’t look back,” Downing said.

A booking photo of Aaron Zoller provided by the Hillsboro Police Department.
A booking photo of Aaron Zoller provided by the Hillsboro Police Department.

Witnesses described the truck and saw the license plate, which led police to Zoller’s home. Hillsboro police said he was found there with injured knuckles and bloody hands.

Downing said when she went to identify her attacker, the only hard part was not being able to confront him.

“I was trying to mean mug through the police door but he couldn’t see me,” she said. “It was just a little moment of anger for me to be frustrated that someone would want to do that do me.”

Zoller is being held on charges of assault and kidnapping.

Downing said this experience makes her afraid for all the kids who live in her apartment complex, but she’s using it as a teaching opportunity.

“I’m just hoping everyone’s locking their doors tighter at night, keeping an eye on their family,” Downing said. “I just want people to know to be safe out there. Travel in twos. It could happen at any time — a sunny day in the middle of the afternoon on your way home from work.”

Aaron Zoller makes his first court appearance after being arrested on charges of assault and kidnapping in Hillsboro on April 26, 2017. (KOIN)
Aaron Zoller makes his first court appearance after being arrested on charges of assault and kidnapping in Hillsboro on April 26, 2017. (KOIN)