Same person likely not responsible for trail attacks - FOX Carolina 21

Same person likely not responsible for trail attacks

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

There remain more questions than answers following a rash of attacks on area trails, but police do not believe the incidents are related.

The first attack happened July 29 on the Silver Comet Trail in Paulding County. Tina Waddell, 42, was beaten unconscious.

Just a week later, an 18-year-old was attacked by a man with a stun gun on the Iron Hill Trail at Red Top Mountain Park in Bartow County. She escaped.

This Monday Pearl Ryder was jogging on the Freedom Park Trail in Atlanta when she says a man tried to grab her. She was able to scare him off.

Police in all three jurisdictions are following leads, but so far, they have made no arrests.

"We have a lot of people who are susceptible to suggestion," said Dr. Dave Davis, Director of Piedmont Hospital's Psychiatric Clinic. Davis agrees with police that the same person likely did not commit all three attacks, due to how geographically far apart they are. However, he said heavy media attention on the first event likely triggered copycats.

"These people, it tips them over to act," said Davis.

Davis also believes the attackers likely share common traits including substance abuse issues, poor self-esteem, and past trauma or abuse.

"If they've been traumatized, they're repeating the event in a way where now they're the strong person, they're not the victim," said Davis.

Davis says these types of attackers can be difficult for police to find because they tend to blend well with others. He said it will likely take a family member or friend coming forward with information for police to make an arrest.

"Somebody knows or probably has a pretty good idea," said Davis.

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