Jogger attacked, kissed on leg by stranger in West Knox County

Jogger attacked, kissed on leg by stranger in West Knox County

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A man attacked a Knox County woman and kissed her leg in a bizarre assault early Monday morning.

The 34-year-old woman said she was jogging eastbound along Hardin Valley Road near Steele Road around 6:30 a.m. when she passed the man walking in the opposite direction.

She told officials she continued her jog, then looped back to return home when she passed the man again.

She continued running north on Steele Road near Valley View Landing Lane, when the man dove at her legs, pulling her right leg towards him and kissing it.

The woman said she was listening to music through headphones and did not hear anything prior to the attack.

She told deputies with the Knox County Sheriff's Office she feared for her life, so she kicked the suspect, broke free, lost her right running shoe and fled north on Steele Road.

As she looked behind her, the man was running eastbound behind the Valley View subdivision.

The jogger was not injured in the incident.

Folks who live in the area say they're anxious for police to find the man who did this.

"Scared. Nervous. Very scary thing. Things like that just don't happen around here," said Tammy Keener, who lives just around the corner from where the attack happened.

Keener was leaving to take her two young children to school when she saw all the commotion.

"There were several police cars and we had no idea what had happened. Then we saw where they had dogs out looking for somebody obviously. We were very worried though. The kids were worried about going to school," said Keener.

She doesn't know what to make of this bizarre attack in her neighborhood.

Hearing that he's still out there this evening has she and her family on guard.

"Normally we pull in, we leave our garage doors open. We're very comfortable. And now we pull in, garage doors are down, and I've not let the kids out this evening," said Keener.

Not only did this incident happen in a seemingly quiet neighborhood, it happened just down the street from Hardin Valley Academy.

Parents of student who attend the school say this attack has left them more than a little uneasy.

They say they've never heard of an attack like this before at all, let alone in the area where their children go to school.

"I think it's really creepy and bizarre and I have no idea why anyone would want to do that. It's scary though," said Robyn Atkins, whose son attends Hardin Valley Academy.

The fact that it happened at all is unsettling, but knowing the attacker could still be in the area tonight makes them even more nervous.

"You don't know if he lives around here or he came into the area of what, so it's really hard to know right now. I won't be jogging through here in the morning, that's for sure," said Atkins.

Everyone in the area is just waiting to hear from police that the attacker is in custody.

"We'll feel much more comfortable when we find out that they've caught him," said Keener.

Deputies were unable to track down the man. He's described as a black male, about 5'9" in height, roughly 165 pounds, wearing a gray hoodie sweatshirt and dark pants.

Her shoe was not recovered from the scene.

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