The hunt for the so-called Great Smokies Suspect, a man suspected of raping and stabbing a 44-year-old woman on a trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, is intensifying with more than 50 leads in the case as park rangers combed the trail yesterday for clues.
The National Park Service released a sketch of the suspect, who they say assaulted the woman on the Gatlinburg Trail in Great Smoky National Park back on June 8. The NPS believes the Great Smokies suspect fled into the area surrounding Gatlinburg, Tenn.
National Park Service Rangers and Special Agents have been actively investigating over 50 leads which have been collected through the Park's Tip Hotline and through personal contacts with the local community, the agency said on its website.
The suspect was described as a white male of thin build, in his 40s, 5'9 tall, with a crew cut and thin mustache. He was last seen wearing black dress pants and a gray t-shirt and has multiple tattoos, including an unknown word across his stomach.
The 44-year-old victim, a Kentucky woman, suffered stab wounds to her neck, hands and face and was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, WATE reported. She was released from the hospital Sunday.
While the victim's home is in Kentucky, she made the Gatlinburg area her temporary residence, NPS spokeswoman Molly Schroer told CNN.
The NPS are posting a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Great Smokies Suspect. Anyone with information was asked to call the agency's hotline at 1-865-436-1580.
The sketch and information about the assault were being distributed to local businesses in hopes someone will come forward to help catch the Great Smokies Suspect.
We stand committed to bringing this assailant to justice, Clay Jordan, chief ranger of the National Park Service, said in a statement. Working together with the assistance of the public, I am optimistic that we can solve this case.
Park rangers flooded the Great Smoky Mountains National Park yesterday, trying to find anyone who may have witnessed the rape and assault.
You never know who's going to have information on the case. We're not just focusing on the park, but on local communities, Melissa Cobern of the National Park Service told WATE.