Jogger says she was attacked on Tobacco Trail


It happened just after 6:30 p.m. when Ginny Mueller said a man was following her when he suddenly jumped her. She believed he was trying to rape her.

"I've never felt that way before," said Mueller. "It was terrifying."

Mueller said she was walking near the quarter-mile marker when she locked eyes with her attacker.

"He sort of jumped on my back," said Mueller. "He put his arm around my waist and pushed me on the ground."

Instead of curling up and retreating, the 24 year old fought back, which she said likely enraged her attacker.

"I punched him in the face a couple of times and he responded by punching me back in the face and then in the back of the head," said Mueller.

She said the man grabbed her breasts while she screamed and wrestled him in for what she said felt like the longest ten seconds of her life. That's when a biker, who had seen everything, stopped.

"He said, 'Are you OK,'" said Mueller. "I said 'Don't worry about me. I'm fine. Go chase him. I want you to find him.'"

The attacker, however, is still on the loose.

The Durham Police Department said Thursday the suspect is a black male, 25 to 35 years old, 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall with a stocky build. He was wearing all black clothing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Hunter at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29318 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

This the twelfth incident this year on the trail the year. Seven of them have been assaults.

"I'm saying seven is too high a number," said Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez. "[It's] not a number that I would want but we're working toward zero."

Officers were on the trail at the time of the attack.

Investigators are not only searching for the suspect, but they are also looking other eyewitnesses, which begs the question of whether it's time for surveillance cameras on the trail.

"When you get ideas about what can be done, you really have to look at the use of it, the effectiveness -- compare costs," said Lopez. "We have communities there that might not be happy about cameras."

The city may also not be happy about the price.

"You can want it all, but you have to be willing to pay for it," said Lopez.

ABC11 has been told that emergency phone booths are also under consideration.

Mueller may have suffered several bruises on her face and body, but has solid resolve and a message for others who use the trail.

"Fight back, be loud, try to get away," she said. "Do whatever you can to stand up for yourself."

Mueller said the man who attacked her didn't say anything or take anything from her.

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