Orlando police increase patrols after woman raped in Thornton Park

Police trying to identify man who attacked victim on East Jefferson Street

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police are seeking the public's help to identify a rapist who they say attacked a victim in front of her Thornton Park home Saturday evening.

Police said the victim was sexually battered in front of her home on East Jefferson Street around 9:30 p.m.

The victim described her attacker as a light-skinned black man who was wearing all black clothing and a bandana covering his face.

The victim told police the man grabbed her and forced her to the side of the house, where he sexually battered her.

Police said the unknown man fled on foot and has not been located.

Lt. Wanda Miglio said the victim has provided authorities with details about the attack and hopefully she'll be able to help with a composite sketch, as well, in the coming days.

"The well-being of the victim is the No. 1 priority. We have to make sure she's OK," Miglio said.

Investigators said there is not enough evidence at this time to connect the assault with an incident that happened on Cathcart Avenue on Oct. 16. During that incident, a woman was returning from walking her dog when she saw a man behind her as she was about to enter her apartment.

The victim told officers he pushed her door open and covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming as he attempted to push her into her apartment, police said.

Investigators said the victim was able to scream until one of her neighbors came out.

The man has not been identified.

Miglio said evidence testing conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will help police determine whether the two incidents are related.

After the attacks, Orlando Police Department officials said officers would increase patrols in the downtown Orlando neighborhoods.

"I want to reassure the public that we're doing everything, all of our detectives, we have increased patrols in that area. We want you to know that we are trying everything that we can to find out what happened here and to find this suspect," Miglio said.

Orlando police are asking residents in the Lake Eola Heights and Thornton Park neighborhoods to review any Ring or Nest camera video and to call police if they have any information. Those residents are also asked to point their cameras toward the street and sidewalk.

Neighbors in the area said they will be taking extra precautions.

"It's a wake up call that no one wants to get," resident Cassidy Temple said. "My day-to-day behavior changed rather drastically Saturday night."

Sophie Cowie shares a backyard with the victim.

"It could have happened to me, if she hadn't been outside and he had turned the corner it could have been me," Cowie said.

Anyone with information on incident is asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.

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