Cocke County deputies search for knife-wielding man chasing teen boys

Published: Jul. 27, 2017 at 5:07 PM EDT
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Cocke County deputies are desperately trying to find a man who's chasing after kids with knives and threatening to kill them.

Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis talked to a boy's mom who said her son was almost attacked by the same man while he was riding his bike home.

Rachel Wilburn has lived in Cocke County her whole life, and she said she's never been as scared as she was a few days ago.

"It put fear in our hearts," said Wilburn. "You grow up and never worry about that happening."

Wilburn said her son was riding his bike when a man wearing a hoodie, with a beard and long hair, jumped out of the woods and tried to grab him.

"He seen him coming, lunged at him and he looked over his shoulder," Wilburn described. "He felt his hands touch his back. He saw the hoodie and long black hair so he peddled as fast as he could."

Cocke County Sheriff's Office is investigating two other similar incidents, one where a man fitting the same description chased a boy with a knife as he was walking to a friend's house, and another time when a similar man was just standing in the front yard of a house and wouldn't leave.

Police said they are looking into the matter and have increased patrols in the area. Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes said, "We made three arrests this morning unrelated, but are beating the bushes trying to find who's responsible."

Until police officially catch the man responsible, Wilburn isn't letting her kids out of her sight.

"You change the way you do things," she said. "No more going outside. He can't ride his bike to his friends' house. All neighbors are doing it until we catch the guy."

Sheriff Fontes said if you see anyone with a hoodie, beard and long hair to call 9-1-1. He said the suspect could be a drug addict or someone suffering mental illness. He wants parents to keep an eye out for anything that looks suspicious.