UGA police release sketch in attempted assault

University of Georgia police have released a sketch of a man who threatened to rape a woman at the Georgia Botanical Gardens in Athens.

Police said they responded to a call at 4:20 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the gardens on South Milledge Avenue.

The woman, a 19-year-old UGA student, told officers that a man pulled a knife on her as she walked on a trail at the garden and threatened to rape her.

The victim was able to escape uninjured.

The suspect was described as a white male, approximately 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall and weighing 150 to 170 pounds. He had short, sandy blond hair, crooked teeth and possibly two small moles on the lower left side of his face, police said.

He was wearing blue sweatpants, a hooded green and white sweatshirt, white running shoes and black sunglasses. The knife was described as an orange pocket or utility knife, police said in a news release.

UGA police and Oconee County Sheriff’s deputies searched the area after the incident but did not find the suspect.

UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson told the AJC Monday that officers began canvassing the area around the gardens on Friday and would continue to “beat the bushes” this week, talking with residents and business people and showing them the sketch of the suspect. He said his department had received a few tips, but they failed to pan out.

Williamson said it’s the first time in his 25 years with the UGA police that an incident of this kind has taken place at the botanical gardens. He said there is no reason for visitors to be concerned about visiting the gardens but said, “I would tell people to use general precautions anywhere they are.”

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the UGA police at 706-542-0090.

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