64-Year-Old Hiker Tied to Tree Was Assaulted
Cops still seeking unkempt, bad-smelling suspect
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2016 2:11 AM CDT
Updated May 19, 2016 6:20 AM CDT
The woman was found near the Blue Ridge Parkway at Craggy Gardens in Barnardsville, NC.   (John D Simmons/The Charlotte Observer via AP, File)

(Newser) – A 64-year-old woman found tied to a tree on a hiking trail in North Carolina last week had been assaulted, investigators have confirmed. Few other details have been released in the disturbing Blue Ridge Parkway case, though police say they still want to talk to people who were in the Craggy Gardens area between noon and 4pm last Thursday, WLOS reports. The victim, whose service dog was found nearby, was released from an area hospital last Thursday evening, hours after rescuers found her. She had been reported missing by a friend. The next day, police released a "possible suspect" description of an unkempt and unwashed man around 50 years old with salt-and-pepper hair.

A National Park Service spokeswoman says no further information has been released because authorities believe there is "no additional threat to public safety, and they want to "balance the integrity of this ongoing investigation and the privacy of the people involved." The Citizen-Times reports that authorities were similarly tight-lipped after a 2011 attack in the Nantahala National Forest, when a woman was raped after she got out of her car to check on a man lying in the road and he produced a handgun. It was almost a week before a suspect description was released in that case, and no arrest was ever made.
 

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