SUWANEE -- A girl in her middle-teens was raped as she jogged alone in Suwanee Creek Park sometime in January. Her assailant remains at large and could be linked to other attacks, police said Friday.
The alleged rape only surfaced when the victim told a friend she'd been sexually assaulted. That friend informed her parents, who called police last week, said Suwanee police Sgt. Shane Edmisten.
Police released a sketch of the suspect Friday, based on the victim's description, in hopes the public may recognize him.
"We're trying to determine if we have any witnesses out there," Edmisten said.
The victim told authorities the man, dressed in running gear, ambushed her from behind about 4 p.m. as she ran through a wooded section of the Suwanee Greenway, a multi-use trail connecting two of the city's most popular parks.
It happened on a weekday. Police haven't been able to pinpoint an exact date.
Following the attack, the girl sought medical attention, and police are working to secure those records, Edmisten said.
"She wasn't beaten up or assaulted," he said.
Police are examining the possibility the attack is related to two earlier attempted assaults.
"We don't have any indication that it is, but we can't say that it's not," Edmisten said.
A woman told police in September a man accosted her at the same park. Two months later, a man wearing a ski mask attacked another woman at nearby George Pierce Park, sneaking up from behind and grabbing her waist, police said.
In both cases, the women broke away and fled. They described their attackers as men standing about 6 feet tall. No arrests have been made.
The rape victim got a better look at her assailant, Edmisten said.
Police describe him as a white man in his mid-30s or early 40s with brown eyes and short brown hair, standing about 6 feet 3 inches tall with a "slender, runner's build."
He wore athletic attire, including a long-sleeve, navy blue shirt, green running shorts and white and green sneakers, Edmisten said.
Edmisten asked anyone with information to call Suwanee police investigators at 770-945-8995.
Police and city officials have called the five parks in Suwanee police jurisdiction -- Town Center, George Pierce, Suwanee Creek, Sims Lake and Playtown Suwanee -- traditionally safe, apart from a few vehicle break-ins.
Both attempted assaults were described as firsts in the history of their respective parks.
Edmisten issued the following pointers to park patrons, especially females: "Don't run alone, always carry a cell phone, don't go after dark or near dark ... always let someone know where you are and when to expect you back," he said.