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Raleigh Police Release Color Composite of Suspect in Shelley Lake Rape

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RALEIGH — The latest attack at Shelley Lake was the fourth one on a woman in Wake County since the spring, but police say although the attacks are similar, the suspects are not.

"It is an isolated incident," said Raleigh Police Capt. Mike Longmire. "We've had no other reports of similar incidents at Shelley Park. There were some problems earlier in the year but nothing quite this serious, and we are not drawing a definite connection."

Monday night a woman jogger said an attacker pulled her away from the trail at Shelley Lake and raped her at gunpoint. The park was closed Monday night, while people were questioned. The victim was treated at a local hospital, and released.

Last month a man attacked a woman at Lake Johnston, but she got away.

Two months ago, another jogger said she was accosted at Shelley Lake, but she was not hurt.

Just a few days ago, a woman jogger was attacked at the WRAL Soccer field. She also managed to escape.

Raleigh Police have released a composite of the man they believe is responsible for Monday night's rape at Shelley Lake.

Police describe the suspect as a white male, between 20 and 22 years old. They believe he's 6 feet 2 inches tall, and weighs about 170 pounds.

Police were very visible in the park on Tuesday. Mounted patrols reminded visitors that authorities are securing the recreation area.

One night after the rape there were still women walking alone after dark. Police warned everyone there that they are taking a big risk.

As park police handed out warnings to joggers and walkers, Eddy Woodlief says she remembered seeing a suspicious-looking man just hours before Tuesday's attack. She said that he fits the police description.

"I said to myself he must be waiting for somebody, but there he was [during my] second round... still sitting there," Woodlief said.

The attack happened at 7:30 p.m., a time when women like Robyn Dobyns are still walking alone.

"I've heard of these things happening at a lot of the parks in the area so it makes you wonder if it's going to be safe anywhere," Dobyns said.

Raleigh Police say there are a few things you can do to help protect yourself.
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Do not make yourself vulnerable
  • Watch out for strangers
  • Even with the precautions, people are asking if women are safe in Raleigh's city parks.

    "Parks are relatively safe," Raleigh Police Officer Bill Phillips said. "There is no more crime in any of the city parks than there is anywhere else in this city."