Cops: Many tips on suspected rapist surface after release of sketches

Witness describes 'nightmare' after coming across Summerville rape victim
Police officials say the sketches are based on the victim's and witnesses' descriptions of the suspect.
Police officials say the sketches are based on the victim's and witnesses' descriptions of the suspect.

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Police say they have received a large number of tips from the public following the release of two sketches of a suspect wanted for the rape of a 17-year-old girl at a bike trail in Summerville.

Captain Jon Rogers with the Summerville Police Department said Monday investigators were looking through many leads provided by the public after the release of the sketches, which came last Friday.

Police officials say the sketches are based on the victim's and witnesses' descriptions of the suspect.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 9 in the area of Bacons Bridge Road and the Sawmill Branch Bike Trail near the rear of an SCE&G power station.

On Wednesday afternoon, authorities received information that a 17-year-old girl, with blood coming from her face, was seen running naked on the trail and across Bacons Bridge Road.

Tammy Christ said the girl ran out in front of her car on the busy road.

"She was screaming and she didn't even care if she got hit by a car," said Christ. "All I could hear was 'please help me I've been raped.'"

Christ couldn't believe what she just witnessed.

"She had her shirt on and her shorts draped around her front section," said the witness, describing the victim. "Her whole back side was completely exposed.

"Her face was all wet crying with tears. It was all red. I couldn't tell if it was red from running so much or if she was actually bleeding," said Christ. "I've had nightmare's every time I close my eyes. All I can see is that poor child's face screaming for help."

The motorist immediately called 911 and turned her car around to try and locate the girl. By the time Christ pulled up to the head of the trail she said the teenager was gone.

It wasn't until Investigators then spoke to the victim's father that they got the entire story from the source. The victim told officers that an unknown white 17-year-old male with curly brown hair had sexually assaulted her.

She said the suspect was wearing a camouflage jacket and blue jeans.

According to the victim, she was running on the bike trail when she saw the suspect approached her riding his bike. The victim said the suspect then hit her on the rear and continued to ride his bike toward the YMCA.

The victim said she became upset after the incident but continued to run. A police report states that the suspect reappeared, rammed his bike into the victim and attempted to pull the victim toward the woods.

Police say the suspect then told the girl to "shut up" and pulled out a silver pocket knife. According to authorities, the suspect punched the girl three times in the face.

Officers say they saw what appeared to be a busted lip on the lower left side of the girl's face and a bruise to her forehead. The girl said the suspect tried to push her down to the ground, and told her multiple times to 'shut up' and would not kill her if she would be quiet.

Police say the suspect then pulled the victim in the woods, held a knife to her throat and sexually assaulted her.

A police report states that a male subject appeared at the edge of the woods and asked if everything was all right roughly three minutes later. Authorities say when the suspect told the male that he was with his girlfriend and trying to have sex, the victim began to yell for help.

The suspect then ran out of the woods and left on his bike, police say. The victim said she then ran to her car, drove home and told her father what had happened. The girl told police she ran the trail often and did not recognize the suspect.

Investigators describe the suspect as a white male, between 16 and 18 years old, 5'7", 180 pounds having curly dark brown hair and last seen riding a black bike.

If you have any information you are asked to call Summerville police at (843) 871-2463.

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