Park Forest attacks on women may be linked

March 21, 2014 (PARK FOREST, Ill.)

Tamica Smith was walking home after dropping her daughters off at school. She put on her earphones and was walking through Shabbona Park when she was grabbed from behind in broad daylight. Smith fought back against the man, who was naked.

"He had a skull hat on. No clothes and some boots. We tussled, swung at him again and tried to call 911," Smith said.

"I got four daughters at my house. I've got family with daughters. Period. I don't want nothing happening to these kids. And the man was big and strong. It was just by the grace of God I was able to fight him off," Smith said. She walked her daughters to school again on Friday, but brought her son and a baseball bat with her.

In the two other attacks, teenaged girls were targeted near Winnebago Park at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and the intersection of Westgate Street and Westwood Drive.

Police say the first two attacks appear to be related, but the third may not be. However, they are not ruling anything out.

"We've got dozens of leads so far, detectives are out on that. We've got units out in the area, we've done a canvas of the area and other investigative techniques we're employing," Park Forest Deputy Chief Christopher Mannino said. Mannino said they're following up the leads.

The descriptions of the attacker are similar in the first two attacks, and police release a sketch of a man in that incident. He is described as a black male between 28 and 35 years old between 5'8" and 5'10" and weighing 135 pounds. He has yellow, crooked teeth and a beard, officials said. In some of the attacks, he was wearing gray sweatpants, a black-hooded sweatshirt and dark sunglasses.

No one was injured in any of the three attempted assaults, officials said. Police say they picked up patrols in the area.

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