WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) —Winston-Salem police have arrested a man who’s accused of assaulting a woman while she was jogging in broad daylight on Wednesday.
He is now facing charges of second-degree kidnapping and sexual battery.
The woman wanted to remain anonymous but said she wanted to share her story.
She said she noticed the man following her for a while before she said he tried to kidnap her.
She heard footsteps behind her and even said something to the man before he grabbed her. Police say that man is 19-year-old Dylan Cody Smyers. He was arrested just two hours after police held a press conference about the case this morning.
“I’m just like screaming to the top of my lungs. I’m like looking around. There’s nobody in sight, and so I thought that that was it for me,” the victim said.
Police say she was out for a run on Research Parkway on Wednesday near Rams Drive and East Salem Avenue area around 5:30 p.m. when she was assaulted.
She says before the assault, she was being followed by a man she thought was between 18 and 22 years old before he approached her from behind.
“It’s right as we’re passing underneath this bridge … even fewer people can see us,” the victim said. “He grabs me from behind and starts trying to pull me away from the road toward … a downhill … ditch kind of landscape, and he said, ‘Come with me. Just come with me. I don’t want to hurt you. I’m not going to hurt you.”
The two struggled before a car came by, and that’s when he let her go.
She immediately called 911, and today is thankful for the officers who tracked her attacker down.
“I’m so happy because it’s not just the Justice … it’s also showing how strong our city’s police department is and to hopefully discourage any other criminals from committing violent crimes in the area,” the victim said.
“I want the community to know that patrols in the area where this assault took place have been increased. We’re out there. We’re vigilant, and we’re working this case,” Winston-Salem Police Chief William Penn said.
Investigators say she avoided being hurt because she was so aware.
Keith Davis, an active runner and Fleet Feet Sports Winston-Salem owner, offered his thoughts on how to stay safe.
“I like to recommend that people run in areas where other runners frequently run. It sounds like in this case, that may have been something that worked against that person. However … just to be in areas that are known for running generally means you’re going to see other runners and there’s more eyes,” Davis said.
Smyers has a secured bond of $100,000 and a court date scheduled on Monday.
This is an ongoing investigation, and Winston-Salem police are asking the residents and businesses to integrate their cameras with Get Connected Wintson-Salem, which is a program run out of its Real Time Crime Center, to help assist in solving crimes like this.