SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Summerville police are investigating a sexual assault that happened on a popular bike trail just outside downtown Summerville around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"I'm shocked to be honest. I can't imagine the mindset behind something like that, especially during the middle of the day," neighbor Lynn McPherson said.
According to an incident report, a teenaged girl was seen running half-naked toward the Sawmill Branch Bike Trail with blood coming from her face.
Police found the 17-year-old girl at home and she told them she was running when a white male on a bike came by her and "smacked her butt." She said she kept running and he came back, rammed his bike into her, jumped off, told her to shut up and pulled out a silver pocket knife. She said he punched her about three times in the face and said he "wouldn't kill her if she shut up."
The victim told police the suspect pushed her down in the woods, "held the knife up to her throat and pulled down her shorts." The assailant then manually and orally violated the victim.
When a witness approached them and asked if everything was alright, the suspect yelled that the victim was his girlfriend and that they were trying to have sex.
That's when the victim yelled for help and the suspect took off on his bike.
Tammy Christ said she was driving on Bacons Bridge Road when the woman ran into the street screaming she'd been raped.
"She had shorts just draped around her front area. Her whole backside was exposed. She was yelling she needed help and had been raped," Christ said.
The suspect is described as being around 17 years old with brown curly hair and was last seen wearing a camouflage jacket and blue jeans. Police released a sketch of the suspect on Friday.
Christ had a message for others who use the trail.
"There are a lot of young women who jog on that trail and they need to be warned about him," Christ said.
The Sawmill Branch Bike Trail was the scene of another attack last March. In that incident, police say a 30-year-old woman was beaten up by her homeless boyfriend.
According to the incident report, this latest attack happened near the rear of the SCE&G power station.
Officials with the Summerville police confirm that they now have extra patrols out on the trail.
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