A Chestnut Hill mother says the man who attacked her 17 year old daughter in the Wissahickon is likely the Fairmount Park rapist.
The woman, who asked not to be identified to protect her daughter’s identity, says police initially were convinced that Monday morning’s attack near Chestnut Hill was the work of the same man. “They were very clear, immediately, that this was the same guy in Philadelphia that had been raping women for years,” the mother told NewsWorks.
The Fairmount Park rapist has been linked to four assaults including the rape and murder of medical student Rebecca Park.
Police were about to issue a warning
The woman says detectives at the Philadelphia Police department’s Special Victims Unit had just printed out thousands of fliers reminding the public that the serial rapist is still on the loose when they responded to her daughter’s attack.
“They said it was, ‘just ironic. We were about to post them because we think people have forgotten about this guy,'” she remarked.
No connection established yet
Officially police are not nearly so certain. Lt. Anthony McFadden says no link has been established between this week’s attack and the Fairmount Park rapist.
“Not at all, this is way too early in the investigation to link this,” the detective told NewsWorks. “Her [the daughter’s] description of the attacker is way too vague to make that determination.”
The victim described the attacker as a Hispanic male, about 5’8” to 5’11” with broad shoulders who was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants at the time.
The detective has no idea why the mother might think the Fairmount Park rapist is responsible. “I spoke with the mother personally yesterday [Monday]. At no time was that mentioned,” he said.
While the accounts differ, no one disputes that the attack happened. NewsWorks first learned of the Chestnut Hill mother through an email she wrote trying to warn others about her daughter’s attacker.
The mother told NewsWorks that her family’s home in Chestnut Hill backs up to Fairmount Park and has a trail that goes right into the park.
Her daughter, she said, went out for a run around 8 a.m. “She does a loop from our house and she noticed a man standing in the trail on her way out,” the woman said.
“About a half an hour later she was coming back and he was still standing there in the same spot,” the mother recounted, “[She] went a little bit over on the trail, away from him… right as she went by he grabbed her and he pushed her into the bushes… He tried to pull her shorts off and she fought, and fought, and fought. And got out from underneath him and ran,” said the mother.
The mother said her daughter was so focused on getting away she didn’t even know what direction she was running in at first.
“She started running and she said, ‘Mom, I realized I was running the wrong direction.’ She was running away from the house.” said the mother.
After running for nearly a mile, the young woman saw three other women and told them she had been attacked and used their phone to call the police.
Her mom has indicated in an email and repeated to NewsWorks that she is proud of her daughter for fighting back. “She fought and fled and those are the two things you need to do,” the mother said.