Palatka teen charged in attempted sex attack on jogger

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter, Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

PALATKA, Fla. - A 13-year-old boy was arrested Friday after a woman was attacked during a morning jog in Palatka, according to the Palatka Police Department.

The attack happened at Ravine Gardens State Park on Twigg Street sometime between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Friday, Capt. Matt Newcomb told News4Jax.

The woman told police she was jogging when someone attacked her from behind. She said she fended off her attacker, who then ran off.

A short time later, an officer spotted a teen wearing clothes matching the description given by the victim, Newcomb said. The victim confirmed the teen was her attacker.

The teen, whose name News4Jax is withholding because of his age, was taken into custody on charges of attempted sexual battery and false imprisonment.

The Florida Department of Environment Protection said in a statement, "Visitor safety is always our top priority. We work closely with FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) law enforcement who provides for public safety and law enforcement services in state parks."

A park ranger told News4Jax that Ravine Gardens State Park has a ranger on duty patrolling the grounds every day from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Longtime park visitors said they were shocked to hear about the attack.

“I’ve been coming here since I was about 11 years old, never had a problem. My children and grandchildren have always come here," visitor Wanda Matthews said. "That’s just terrible, unheard of.”

The teen was taken to the Putnam County Jail and later transferred to a juvenile detention facility.

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