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Deputies Say Woman Sexually Assaulted On Popular Exercise Trail, Suspect In Custody

Reported by: Send eMail Chris Williams
Also Contributing: Mamie Buoy
Reported: Jun. 15, 2014 10:16 AM EDT
Updated: Jun. 15, 2014 6:42 PM EDT
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Sexual Assault Arrest
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Oak Hill , West Virginia

A trail that is usually filled with people is empty Sunday, following an attack here Saturday night.

"It's very very shocking that something like this can happen out here," said Marathon Bicycle Company Owner Adam Stephenson.

According to court records, a woman was jogging on the Rails to Trails Path, when she was attacked from behind. 47-year-old Thomas Carter Jr. is accused of pulling a woman off the trail. He then allegedly tied up her legs and arms to trees, put tape over her mouth, and began sexually assaulting her.
People who use the trail daily say it's scary to even think about.

"Someone must have been waiting for her, watched her when she entered," said Fayette County resident Carol Manning.

Deputies said during the attack, carter told the victim he was going to keep her for himself or kill her because he "wasn't going to jail for this.”

According to the criminal complaint, after carter assaulted the victim, he left her tied to the tree, and said he had to go “clean this up.” Now that's when the victim was able to cut herself lose, and escape to help.

The victim was able to give deputies a detailed description of carter, and they found him a short time later hiding under a porch in Briar Wood Trailer Park. People in Oak Hill are frustrated and upset that someone would do this, but say it's important to remember to stay safe if you're heading out on the trails.

"I would say carry mace," Manning added.

"Tell somebody, leave a note so somebody knows where you are. Try to give them where you're going, how long you'll be gone," added Stephenson.




A man is behind bars accused of sexually assaulting a woman on the Rails to Trails exercise area in Oak Hill Saturday evening.

Deputies say Fayette County 911 dispatchers got a call from somebody who lived on Allman Street saying an unclothed woman, covered in blood, ran to their house looking for help.

When deputies got to the scene, they say the victim told them she was jogging in the Rails to Trails area when she was attacked from behind by a suspect wearing a mask and gloves. She said the suspect dragged her into a wooded area off of the trail, tied her up, gagged her and then used a knife to cut off her clothing. The man then allegedly sexually assaulted the victim. He left the woman tied up and told her he was going to come back, do it again and then kill her.

The victim was able to free herself and then run to the house for help. She was able to give deputies a description.

After deputies released the description, they say they got an anonymous tip the suspect was at the Briarwood Trailer Park in Oak Hill. When deputies got there, they found 47-year-old Thomas Gene Carter Jr. hiding under a porch.

Carter is charged with kidnapping, first degree sexual assault and first degree robbery. He is currently in the Southern Regional Jail.



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