Police Work to Ramp Up Awareness of Fairmount Park Attacker
Cops were in Fairmount Park this weekend.
Police were in Fairmount Park this weekend to educate people about a man who has allegedly attacked several women throughout the city's various parks.
Officers stationed themselves at spots along Kelly Drive and West River Drive. They were also at the intersection of Forbidden Drive and Bells Mill Road in Chestnut Hill and in Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia.
Police said DNA evidence has confirmed that the same man attacked women in some of those areas in 2003 and 2007.
They describe him as a Hispanic male with a medium, muscular build that stands 5'8" tall. He has a tall, dark complexion, with black hair, a thin mustache, a jawline beard and bushy eyebrows. (You can read a more detailed description on the photo at right.)
Police said they wanted people to be aware that the man hasn't been caught.
"The purpose of this initiative is to remind all citizens who use the parks to use caution because the male is still unidentified and at large," police said in a news release. "We want to remind the public that all tips are appreciated and will be investigated."
Police haven't connected the man, sometimes dubbed the "Fairmount Park rapist," to an April recent attack in the Wissahickon. They've only said he's responsible for three attacks in 2003 in Fairmount Park and one in Pennypack Park in 2007.
In the recent incident, which happened April 11, a 17-year-old girl who was going for a jog “came upon a male who basically tackled her" to the ground, according to Lt. Anthony McFadden of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit.
The man attempted to sexually assault the young woman, whose identity is being withheld, but the victim was able to break free and run for help, McFadden said.
The attack happened on the trails relatively close to Valley Green Inn, an area popular with recreation enthusiasts because of its pristine setting and isolated location.
Flyers have been posted throughout the Mt. Airy community, however, that imply that the man associated with the earlier attacks is connected to this most recent attempted assault.
One of the flyers—which is posted at the High Point Allens Lane coffee shop—includes a letter from the victim's mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim's identity.
"Based on my daughter's description, they are 99 percent sure it the same guy who has raped several other young women and killed one in Philadelphia over the past few years," the mother wrote.