Man arrested after assaulting underage girl, stalking other women, Knoxville police say
Zachary Nelson, 20, was arrested after he reportedly assaulted a juvenile girl, but Knoxville Police Department officials said that more information about predatory behavior around Knoxville came to light.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A man was arrested after “a seemingly random, unprovoked assault” of a girl earlier this month, according to Knoxville Police Department officials.
KPD detectives began investigating the assault of a juvenile girl who was walking her dog outside of The Palmer apartments on May 12.
According to a report obtained by WVLT News, the girl was walking her dog when she noticed a man following her. A few minutes later, the man ran up to the girl, pulled down her pants and ran from the scene.
On May 23, investigators identified and arrested Zachary Nelson, 20, who was charged with assault from that incident.
KPD investigations also obtained a warrant charging Nelson with stalking. He reportedly followed a different woman at The Palmer apartments for several days and “made an unsolicited advance,” KPD officials said.
On May 11, this victim was walking toward her apartment when she noticed Nelson reportedly following her, weaving in and out of the shadows.
The next day, the same day as the previous assault, the victim said she noticed that Nelson was following her again. The victim told police that Nelson’s pupils were “big,” and he appeared to be high.
The report said that Nelson started telling the victim she was pretty and claimed to live in the apartment next to her, but the victim said that the apartment was empty.
Nelson would not leave the victim alone despite her telling him, “You have no business here,” according to the report.
He reportedly followed her all the way to her apartment and attempted to make his way inside. The report said the victim then ran to her car and drove away.
Both victims picked Nelson out in a lineup, according to the report.
More information came to light during the investigation, and KPD officials learned of several instances where a man exhibited similar predatory behavior at several apartment complexes and public spaces around Knox County.
Nelson is 6′3″, white and skinny with blue eyes and brown hair.
KPD officials urged anyone who has had a similar experience and not reported the incident to reach out to KPD at 865-215-7315.
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