Police search for suspect in sexual assault on bike trail

Composite sketches were released Friday by the Summerville Police Department of a teenage boy suspected of sexual assualt on the Sawmill Branch Walk/Bike trail.

Police looked for more witnesses Friday along a Summerville walking trail where they said a teenage girl was sexually assaulted this week.

To offer tips

If you recognize the person in the sketch or have any information on the case, call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

Authorities also released a composite of the teenage boy who they say attacked the 17-year-old as she ran along the Sawmill Branch Walk/Bike Trail at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

On Friday, an unmarked police vehicle drove through the trail to the area where authorities said the attack occurred.

Joggers, walkers and bicyclists were using the trail throughout the day. Robert Crosby of Summerville, who was jogging, said he heard the news about the attack and said he was a bit surprised. “Not entirely though. Stuff can happen anywhere,” Crosby said.

Ashley Warren of Goose Creek was also along the trail, under an overpass off the Bacons Bridge parking lot, looking for shark’s teeth in the canal. “I didn’t think something like that could happen around here,” she said.

She’s out there a few times a week, and said the incident won’t keep her from returning to the trail. “It bothers me a little, but I don’t go out here alone,” she said.

The teenager who was attacked, and who will not be identified, told police a teenage boy on a bicycle smacked her on her buttocks as she ran along the trail.

She became upset, an incident report states, but she continued to run.

The boy reappeared, she told police, this time ramming his bicycle into her.

Then the boy jumped off the bike, pulled out a silver pocket knife and told the girl to shut up, the report states.

The girl told police her attacker punched her in her face three times.

She told him she would do anything he asked, so long as he let her live, the report states.

The boy pulled the girl into the woods and pushed her down on her back. According to the report, he held the knife to her throat while he sexually assaulted her.

A man walked by at the edge of the woods and asked if there was a problem, interrupting the attack, the report states.

The boy told the man he was attempting to have sex with his girlfriend, according to the report. The girl cried out for help, prompting her attacker to run out of the woods and flee on his bike.

The girl ran toward her car, which was parked at the trail’s entrance on Bacons Bridge Road, the report states.

She drove home and told her father, who called police.

A witness reported seeing the girl crying hysterically and yelling for help. That person told police the girl didn’t have on pants and was red in the face.

The girl described her attacker as being white, about 17 years old, having curly brown hair and wearing a camouflage jacket and blue jeans.

She told police she runs the trail often, but she didn’t recognize him. Police said they haven’t had any other reports of sexual assaults on the trail.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or Natalie Caula at 937-5594.

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