Police ‘actively’ pursuing leads in Winston-Salem greenway stabbing

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem police are aggressively pursuing leads after a 28-year-old woman was stabbed twice while walking on a greenway Wednesday.

Officers were called to the Salem Creek Greenway around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday after the woman told them she was knocked down and stabbed twice in the back. Police believe a steak knife was used in the assault.

Investigators responded heavily, calling in K-9 officers, but they were unable to track the assailant, who they believe rode away on a scooter.

“It makes me surprised, definitely a little scared, and surprised that would have happened in broad daylight," said Sophia Seyler-Wetzel, who was walking her dog in the same area of the greenway Thursday morning.

People who helped the victim after the assault say it happened between South Broad Street and Washington Park. She made her way to a nearby building where workers say they called 911.

“Oh, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is our route,'" said Cynthia Johnakin, who walks the trail several times a week.

The victim tells FOX8 her assailant was young, possibly around 15 years old. Police say none of her belongings were taken during the encounter.

“We decided to go through town instead of taking the greenway," said Angela Guy, who was walking a different section of the trail on Thursday.

Police were back in Washington Park on Thursday, looking for anyone who may have information about the assault.

“It’s always something to be aware of but, can’t live in fear at the same time. Like I said, the best thing is not to go alone. I don’t think it’s safe being out there alone anywhere," Johnakin said.

Officers say they have no plans to increase patrols on the greenways. They add that they frequent the areas around the trails and incidents like Wednesday's are rare.

“It just does not make sense," Seyler-Wetzel said.

There are some emergency boxes along portions of the greenway, which runs from Salem Lake to Peters Creek Parkway, but those boxes were installed by nearby universities, according to city officials. Those officials say they have no plans to put additional boxes along the trails.

There are 25 miles of greenways within the city.

Most people agree there is no reason for officers to increase their presence.

“It would be kind of ridiculous to patrol the park. We’re all king of just enjoying ourselves out here, to spend that kind of money patrolling the park would be stupid," Seyler-Wetzel said. "But, boxes to be able to call and good lighting in the evening time would be good.”

Meanwhile, many are already taking steps to protect themselves while on the trails.

“I always carry my mace with me, a stun gun sometimes," Johnakin said.

The victim tells FOX8 she was released from the hospital late Wednesday night and is recovering at home.

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