Saturday, June 9, 2012

Woman Stabbed on Gatlinburg Trail

A 44-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and then stabbed several times while hiking along the Gatlinburg Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park yesterday.

The victim was taken by helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. She remains in the hospital and is in stable condition.

The woman managed to make her way to Highway 441 shortly before 3 p.m. and flag down a passing motorist.

Rangers immediately closed the 1.9-mile Gatlinburg Trail and contained an area between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and the city of Gatlinburg.

The suspect is described as a white male of thin build, in his 40s, standing 5-foot, 7 inches tall, with a crew cut and thin mustache. He was wearing black dress pants and a gray T-shirt at the time of the attack, the park reported. He has multiple tattoos, including one on his stomach.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the park dispatch emergency line at 865-436-9197.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

9 comments:

Mamabug said...

What an awful thing to happen in this beautiful park. I'll be carrying pepper spray with me from now on.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Mamabug - I agree. Some very strange and sad things going on lately. Hopefully this is an isolated incident.

Chuck Allen said...

Horrible stuff.

Anonymous said...

My husband showed me this story this morning so I would not be shocked if I heard it elsewhere. I cried reading it... because I just feel for this woman. I have been on this trail many times and a few times alone with my dog. For a man to do this in broad daylight in middle of day on a busy trail and on a Saturday.. he is obviously very bold and had to have known the trail. I have to say I am even more shocked that someone would write what hospital she was taken to, since she was so severely attacked and her attacker is still out there. This is dumfounding to me that the person that originally gave this info did not think that this man could try to find her again. These reporters need to cover the news with more sensitivity to the Survivor of these crimes. Yes, she is a survivor, not a victim. These reporters need to write about these horrible stories as if it was their wife, sister or mother and I think he or she would think twice about the way things are worded.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Anon - you make some great points. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I find this story hard to believe actually. The alleged incident happened on Friday afternoon around 3 pm. My family and I were on that very tail on Thursday afternoon. We didn't go for more than 2 minutes without seeing another person(s) on that trail. In the 2 miles we walked on that trail we saw at least 30 people going and another 30 or 40 people walking back. Was this guy simply hiding behind a tree and jumped out to grab this woman? No one - notta, zip, zilch -- saw this guy walking on the trail with his dress paints on and didn't think it was odd and could give a description to a scetch artist? According to the news reports I've read, the woman said she made her way out to hwy 441. Which means the attack took place before you cross the bridge (assuming she was walking away from G-burg). And if it took place before the bridge, the woods between the trail and the hwy are only about 100 FEET in width. Seems very unlikely to me this took place in that area and no one saw or HEARD anything. Stranger things have happened, but until this attack is confirmed by a police investigation (i.e. rape kit that proves she was raped, the stabbing wounds are/were life threatening, etc.) I for one will withhold judgment.

Anonymous said...

This did infact HAPPEN! My brother and girlfriend are in Gatlingburg, as they hike the AT. He said police were at the place they were staying questioning people yesterday... several of the men think they actually saw this guy.... Why would someone make this up? I wish her a speedy recovery.

Isabellas Pet Center said...

I seen today where the Park has released some of the pictures of the suspect. I just hope he is found and captured before I make my trip down to my own Gatlinburg Mountain Chalet rental. Then I can feel safe and secure, but like Mamabug said Pepper Spray or Mace will be carried by me when I am in the park at all times now.

Anonymous said...

What trail did this happen on and did they catch him