SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A hat left behind by a man accused in a sex attack on a jogger along a popular Seminole County trail led to his arrest, according to the sheriff.
William Stamper, 19, was arrested Tuesday night and faces sexual battery charges in Monday’s attack on the West Wekiva Trail, just west of Hunt Club Boulevard in the Wekiva subdivision.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said a hat left behind by Stamper helped bring him in for questioning and ultimately led to his arrest. The hat belonged to Sonny’s BBQ, the sheriff said, where Stamper was employed.
“They were very cooperative with giving direction on some of the employees that look like they potentially could have matched the description of the video evidence that we had released at the time,” he said. “We were able to follow up on that, make contact with citizens and ultimately, right around 10 or 11 last night, we brought the person in as a person of interest. "
Lemma said several hours later, investigators interviewed Stamper and gathered “concrete evidence that says that this is the person that is responsible for this very alarming crime.” During the interview, Lemma said he “ultimately confessed to his involvement.”
According to the sheriff’s office, the 22-year-old woman was jogging when she noticed a man following her. The sheriff said she stopped running to conserve energy that may be needed to fight him off or yell for help.
Officials said the man then sprinted up before her and threw her to the ground. Lemma said the man bit her back and was “grinding on her” in a sexual manner.
“This was clearly an attempted sexual battery. No question about it whatsoever,” the sheriff said.
Lemma praised the quick response of nearby residents who called 911 and helped the woman when she called for help.
Hear the call to 911 in the media player below:
“I am absolutely convinced that if he was not apprehended last night, he would have victimized somebody else,” he said.
This comes nearly two weeks after deputies said they received a call from a victim who said they were being followed while jogging. Lemma said Stamper has not been “positively connected” to that incident.
“We’re still working on that aspect of it, but there’s probably no additional charges for that. It just leads us to believe that he probably very likely was watching her for some time. It has not met the criminal elements of stalking as of yet but if it does evolve to that, we will make sure we charge appropriately,” Lemma said.
Stamper was being held in the Seminole County Jail without bond. Stamper was denied bond by a judge Wednesday afternoon.
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