Police Investigate Sexual Assault at Tennessee State Park

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Caryville, Campbell County (WVLT) - Park Rangers and Police swarm the grounds of Cove Lake Park after a sexual assault in broad daylight.

"I always feel safe. I've never even thought about anything being dangerous, of course, I never run in the mornings, but, I don't think about it," Mandi Breeden says.

Most people don't, especially when exercising outdoors... at a state park... during daylight hours.

"You just don't trust people anymore and we try to stay in packs," Tabitha Tankersley says.

But Tuesday morning, in a seemingly safe place at Cove Lake State Park, a young woman found herself in a dangerous situation when confronted by a man on this trail.

Police say the man jumped out from behind a tree, grabbed the woman and sexually assaulted her. It's something you might expect to happen in a secluded areas like this, but not in broad daylight.

"There are spots that I wouldn't go up there by myself," Tankersley says.

The incident has police and park rangers on high alert... they've been busy monitoring the park at close intervals...

"When I first heard of the situation, it shocked me, scared me, and put me in fear not to come. But now, when I seen the rangers driving, and not only driving but walking, made me feel more safely," Christine Kelly says.

"When they drive through here they can see us, but when they drive through there, it's almost like a whole other section of the park," Tankersley says.

Part of that section has been taped off while police continue their investigation...

"Definitely made me think because when I saw the rope back there I didn't think anything about it. I thought it would be something simple because nothing like that ever seems to happen or at least I haven't heard anything like that around here," Mandi Breeden says.

"Hopefully I'll still run, but I'll definitely be more careful," Breeden continues.

The woman was only able to tell police that her attacker was a white man wearing a hood and sunglasses.

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