Massac County Continues Attack Investigation

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By Amy Fox
By Benjy Jeffords

METROPOLIS -- It's a situation that has people in the Metropolis area worried and has spawned a lot of speculation on social media. A woman was allegedly attacked and robbed along the bike trial at Fort Massac State Park last Friday evening. Police have since increased patrols to help make sure everyone using the park feels safe.

State Conservation Police are at the park nearly around the clock and the Metropolis Police has officers visiting more often as well. But, even with heightened security, law enforcement is still encouraging everyone to continue their outdoor activities.

Runner Brent Williams is a regular at Fort Massac State Park. Typically, his path only takes him through the main areas. But there are other routes tucked away that can be more of a challenge to navigate.

"There are some trails that go off of the roadway through the rear of the park. The bike trail, they loop all the way to the interstate bridge, so you can get pretty far out," said Brent Williams, Metropolis resident.

On Friday night, Metropolis Police were called to one of those wooded areas just after 7 pm.

Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse said,  "We responded.  She had a very minor, very minor cut on her throat.  And, she claimed she had been robbed of $5."

The 23-year-old woman told officers she was jogging when a man approached on foot and attacked her. But police say that information doesn't match what witnesses say happened when they found her after the attack.

"There are inconsistencies in her story and such that we're still investigating," said Masse.

It didn't take long for word to get out on Twitter and Facebook. Chief Harry Masse says much of the information circulating wasn't accurate.

"Social media was telling that the victim was 14 and had her head cut off, that she was raped, that there were multiple rapes, there were multiple robberies," said Masse.

While Police have stepped up security in the park for the time being, Masse insists there's no immediate danger to the public and there never was.

"We don't have a band of marauders, you know, raping and pillaging and attacking all the visitors at the park because it did keep people away from the park and that's not what we want," said Masse.

In the meantime, Williams plans to play it safe and try to be more aware of his surroundings.

"I don't usually wear ear buds or anything like that or listen to music," he said. "I like to hear cars come up behind me."

The incident remains under investigation. If you have any information, call the Metropolis Police Department at 618-524-2310.

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