SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A 19-year-old Longwood man was arrested on sexual battery charges after a woman was attacked while jogging on a popular Seminole County trail, deputies said.
William Stamper was taken into custody Tuesday night and later arrested in connection with the sex attack, which happened around 8:45 p.m. Monday on the West Wekiva Trail, just west of Hunt Club Boulevard in the Wekiva subdivision.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said a 22-year-old woman was jogging when she noticed that a man was following her.
“She sees him there. She then stops running to conserve whatever energy that she needed in the event that she had to yell for help, or go into a sprint, and run away from him, and then she also takes the AirPods out of her ear so she could see and listen as he approached,” Lemma said.
Investigators said the man then sprinted up behind her and threw her to the ground. As he attacked her, Lemma said the man was also “grinding on her” in a sexual manner and bit her on the back.
“She’s got a big bite mark on her back,” Lemma said. “When he was on top of her, he clamped down and bit her.”
The sheriff said the woman screamed for help, alerting neighbors. Lemma said a nearby woman called 911 while another neighbor hopped a fence.
“Good Samaritans, citizens living in their house that quite literally probably saved her from a much more damaging situation,” Lemma said.
A witness told News 6 that he and his wife heard the commotion and yelled to the woman, asking whether she needed help. The witness said the woman replied by telling them to call 911, so he quickly jumped over the fence to help the victim.
However, by that point, the suspect had already run away.
Before the arrest, Lemma held a news conference, providing more details.
“It’s around that time our suspect takes flight. No one’s able to see him at this time,” Lemma said. “We have pieces of evidence that we’ve recovered from the scene. We have some pretty significant leads in the case.”
The sheriff also showed surveillance video from a nearby home.
“(The attacker) left a piece of clothing item at the scene that I don’t want to clearly disclose what it is right now, but it’s helping our investigators kind of connect the dots,” Lemma said.
The sheriff said deputies received a call roughly two weeks ago saying that this victim was being followed while she was jogging. Investigators could not say for certain whether it was the same man who followed the victim both times, but Lemma believes that is likely.
“It makes me believe that this victim was probably targeted by this individual for whatever reason,” he said. “It sounds exactly like that to me, and it sounds like he targeted this individual, that he learned what her pattern was and wanted to put himself in proximity to where she’s at. I can’t say that with 100% certainty until we find out who he is.”
Diane and Joe Lagennusa said it wasn’t until Tuesday morning that they heard about the incident, which happened near their home.
“I was shocked because you don’t hear about stuff like that in this area,” Diane Lagennusa said.
The couple said that at night, the typical concern for residents are bears roaming the area. They also said residents often keep out an extra eye for one another.
“Both of us can attest that we’ve got great neighbors. There are always people walking around,” Joe Lagennusa said. “There are always residents walking their dogs. Everybody is always just (such a) community in this Wekiva area, so we are happy with that.”
Stamper was being held in the Seminole County Jail without bond. He’s expected to face a judge Wednesday afternoon.
Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily: