OAK HILL, W.Va. – A Fayette County man is charged with kidnapping, first degree sexual assault and first degree robbery for allegedly attacking and sexually assaulting a woman who was jogging on the Oak Hill rail trail on Saturday evening.
Thomas Gene Carter, Jr., 47, of Oak Hill was being held in the Southern Regional Jail on Sunday morning.
As of Sunday, the victim was said to be in stable condition at a local hospital.
She told police a man wearing a mask and gloves attacked her from behind near Allman Street while she was on the rail trail and dragged her into a wooded area off the trail where he tied her up, gagged her and used a knife to cut off her clothing.
The woman said the suspect sexually assaulted her and then left her tied up, promising to return to rape her again before killing her. While the suspect was gone, the woman was able to free herself and run to a home on Allman Street for help. The 911 call from the home came in around 6 p.m. Saturday.
Using a description from the victim and help from the public, investigators identified Carter as the possible suspect. He was later located, hiding under a porch in Oak Hill’s Briarwood Trailer Park, and arrested.
Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said it was a brutal attack during daylight hours. “The suspect was allegedly armed with a knife and allegedly threatened to kill the victim during this prolonged assault,” the Sheriff said in a statement.
“The victim is extremely fortunate that she was able to break free and seek help, or we would probably be investigating a murder.”
Oak Hill Police Chief Mike Whisman said such violence is shocking. “This is an extremely unusual event to occur on our Rails-To-Trails exercise path. The Oak Hill Police Department regularly patrols this exercise path, both on foot and by bicycle patrol. Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere at once,” he said.
Those with the Oak Hill Police Department and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department handling the ongoing investigation.
Anyone who may have information about the attack or anyone who may have been on the Oak Hill rail trail during the early evening hours Saturday can contact the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department at 304-574-4216, the Oak Hill Police Department at 304-465-0597 or submit information through the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.