Woman attacked on South Sound trail

A frightening attack -- on a popular trail. A woman says she was choked by a stranger while on a walk.

TACOMA, Wash — A woman said she was brutally attacked Saturday on a Tacoma trail that the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said is known as a safe area.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer said, “this is not a serial deal, this is a very unique incident for that area. In fact, we looked and we haven’t even had an assault there since Jan. 1.”

KIRO 7 spoke to the victim's husband, William Tennison, who said she was carrying a Bible while walking on the trail.

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The woman told deputies the last thing she remembers is the suspect saying, God won't help you now.

"So my wife came to walk the trails and read her Bible," Tennison said. But this time, Tennison said his wife was randomly attacked and he's worried there are more victims out there.

The woman told her husband she was on one of the trails at the Sprinkler Recreation Center with her headphones in when a man came up from behind her.

Tennison said, "one hand around her mouth and one hand around her throat." He was horrified to learn, she had passed out, but it's what the man allegedly said to Tennison's wife that's haunting him.

"Called her a Bible-thumper and said God can't save you now," Tennison said.

He doubts his wife was attacked because she was carrying a Bible.

Deputies said it's possible considering how rare attacks like this are in the first place.

One park visitor, Mary Vargas told us, "Makes me think that this place is not safe at all! And I come every day with my daughter."

Troyer said, "We don't want people to be afraid of the area but we want people to take precautions."

Tennison is warning others about what he said happened to his wife and is grateful she's alive, but doubtful his family will return.

"Not until we get her concealed carry, me my concealed carry," Tennison said. "It's just going to take time unfortunately, there's damage done."

Tennison said his wife is struggling to cope with the incident.

Deputies said her phone was stolen during the attack.

Her husband ended up finding it in a trash can at the recreation center.

Deputies are searching for the suspect.

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