OSAGE, Iowa – Police in Osage received a call from a woman who was on the Harry Cook Nature Trail Tuesday afternoon.
She told them she had been attacked by a man on the trail.
“We found out which way he was going, we found him on the end of the trail, talked to him,” says Chief Brian Wright.
After questioning the victim, as well as Dewayne Alan Bethke, police determined an assault likely occurred and arrested Bethke.
The victim received minor injuries, but did not need medical attention. Bethke is being charged with serious assault.
Even though police say this assault was likely an isolated incident, they want folks who use these trails to keep a few things in mind.
They suggest you tell a friend where you’re going, and keep your cell phone with you.
They also warn folks who use ear buds to listen to music, having them in can make you a target for an attacker.
“It’s true, because you’re listening to your music or whatever, then someone could sneak up on you and you wouldn’t necessarily know, or you’re distracted, paying attention to that instead of maybe paying attention to your surroundings,” explains Mary Ingham with Crisis Intervention.
She says it’s really not a good idea to use nature trails alone and that it’s best to have a running or walking partner. But, if you do decide to go out alone and someone approaches you; trust your gut.
“Even if you’re walking and someone approaches you and it doesn’t feel right, I think we all try to be polite and think, well I’m just going to keep walking, if something doesn’t feel right, do something about it,” Ingham explains.
As for the alleged attack in Osage, it happened in broad daylight and police don’t believe the victim knows the suspect. That’s why Chief Wright says its important folks are using precautions and be aware of their surroundings.
“This is the first one I can remember of somebody being assaulted on the trail, I think it was pretty isolated incident, just happened and hopefully doesn’t happen again.”
Even if you’re not concerned about being assaulted when you’re walking, Mary says having a phone on you is important, in case you were to get hurt while walking or running.
She says if you do feel nervous about somebody you approach on the trails, it’s always better to call police than to let it go.