Local News

Police Search For Answers After Duke Forest Attacks

Posted June 28, 2004

— Duke police have arrested a man in connection with the attack of a female jogger in Duke Forest Saturday afternoon.

The man also was questioned about a separate attack that happened 20 minutes later, when another female jogger was stabbed in the abdomen. But he was not charged for that, leaving police to seek another suspect for that attack and possibly an attack that happened last week.

Lorenzo Espinosa Mondragon, 28, of 412 E. Pilot St., Apt L-7, Durham, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for Saturday's first incident, said Duke police Maj. Phyllis Cooper.

Cooper said Mondragon was stopped by Duke police as he left Duke Forest about 8 p.m. Saturday, not far from where the second attack occurred.

Police Mondragon tried to attack a woman who was jogging in Duke Forest, off N.C. 751 near Kerley Road, about 5:10 p.m. Saturday. The woman said she was confronted by a man holding a knife who jumped out of the bushes and stood in her path.

The woman managed to run away and call police from a nearby food market.

About 20 minutes later, Cooper said, another woman was stabbed as she jogged near N.C. 751, west of Old Erwin Road.

The woman was found lying on the path by a man who notified Duke police. She was taken to Duke University Hospital, but her condition was not available Saturday evening.

Police said Mondragon was released Saturday after being cited for a misdemeanor.

In a similar incident that occurred a week ago, a woman told police she was jogging in the forest near the intersection of N.C. 751 and U.S. 70 around 5:35 p.m. when a man holding a pair of kitchen shears stopped her and demanded she go into the woods with him.

The woman managed to escape unharmed.

That suspect was described as a Hispanic male, about 30 years old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, 155 to 175 pounds, stocky in build with black hair.

Cooper said Duke police posted flyers in the forest after the June 19 incident, warning people of the attempted attack and asking for anyone with information to contact police. She said Saturday night that additional flyers will be posted, and Duke police will step up patrols in the forest.

Anyone with information on any of the incidents is asked to call Duke police at

684-2444

or First Sgt. Gary Smith at

684-6424.

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