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City Police Chief Jason Cross investigating assault in local park

Student had stopped to sit by Town Creek when a stalker grabbed her from behind and attempted to drag her into wooded area. Victim fought back and was eventually able to break free and call for help. Columbia Police are investigating and have issued a checklist to follow to prevent becoming a victim
Click on headline for complete story with Safety Tip Checklist

By Ofc Josh Brockman, Public Information Officer
Columbia Police Department, Jason Cross, Chief

Chief Jason Cross, Columbia Police Department is investigating an assault in local park. On Friday, September 17, 2016, at 7:32pmCT, Columbia Police Officers were dispatched to a local park adjacent to the campus of Lindsey Wilson College off of North Reed Street where they met with a 20 year old female.

The female, who is a student at the college, will remain unnamed. According to statements from the victim she had been walking in the local park and had stopped to sit by the town creek. She then stated that an unknown white male grabbed her from behind and threw dirt and debris into her eyes. She stated perpetrator then attempted to drag her toward a wooded area.

The victim struggled with the perpetrator striking him multiple times with her hands and feet. She was eventually able to break free and call for help as the perpetrator fled on foot back into a wooded area. The victim suffered abrasions to her legs, hands, and her forehead.

Due to the debris being thrown into her eyes and it being dark, the only description provided to the police was possibly a mid to late 30's white male with blond or white hair.

Officers have canvassed the area searching the woods for any evidence that might have been dropped or left. Currently CPD officers and conducting interviews with residents in the area to see if they had observed anything in the area unusual or anybody hanging out in area that evening. The case remains under active investigation by Ofc Drew Conn and Ofc Jordan Dean .

Columbia Police would like to offer this 10 Point Safety Checklist for walking, especially at night, and not be a victim.
  1. Stay in well lit areas

  2. Stick to neighborhoods and parks you are familiar with

  3. Don't walk alone. Find a walking partner if possible

  4. Make sure your cell phone is charged. If you can dial 911 in an event something happens even if you drop your phone or unable to speak clearly to dispatcher, on most occasions they can ping your location and direct an officer to the vicinity where you are

  5. Carry personal protection like pepper spray or any option you feel comfortable with. Just be trained in the safe handling and operation of your choice. Also make sure they are in compliance with state and local laws.

  6. Be aware of your surroundings. Remember that wearing headphones and talking on the phone reduces your awareness of what's around you.

  7. Make sure you tell someone of your travel routes, destinations, and time to expect your return

  8. Walk with your head up, not looking at the ground. Carry yourself with confidence.

  9. If you feel someone is following you or watching you, change your route and head toward the closest populated area.

  10. Trust your instincts. If you see something that isn't quite right don't take chances. Call for help or change your plans.
Josh Brockman

This story was posted on 2016-09-20 19:36:11
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