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CPD reminds trail visitors to stay aware, vigilant while on MKT

Six months after MKT assault, no arrests

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Six months after an assault on the MKT, there have been no arrests. 

As the weather gets warmer, ABC 17 News checked in with law enforcement on the August assault case in which sent one woman to the hospital. Columbia police said they have no updates and have not made any arrests.

A 14-year old girl was sexually assaulted in October on a different part of the trail, near Flat Branch Park. 

ABC 17 News spoke with trail-goers Thursday and reactions were mixed about whether the trail is safe though most felt comfortable while walking or exercising. However, one resident pointed out there are many places along the trail a person can hide. 

"I can see a lot of spots where somebody could put together an attack," said Columbia resident Van Allen. 

Another walker said she appreciated the city clearing some of the brush from the sides of the trails so people can see through the shrubbery better. She also bought a self-protection device after learning of the August attack. 

"It makes a lot of noise if I need to use it," said Jane Scott. 

City councilman Ian Thomas lives near the trail and was walking toward downtown Thursday morning near where the August attack happened. He said he has always felt safe on the trail. 

"Sometimes council meetings don't end until after midnight, sometimes 3 o'clock in the morning and I'll walk or bike back home," Thomas said. 

Thomas' wife was near the scene of the attack the night it happened. He said they talked about the attack and he doesn't believe it's changed her behavior on using the trail. 

"I think she also sees it as a terrible, horrible incident that could have happened somewhere else," Thomas said. 

Overall, residents on the trail Thursday seemed comfortable being out there and said it was important to take precautions. Police remind residents using the trail to stay vigilant and aware and to be their own first line of defense. 

"Take your ear buds out so you can hear," Allen said. 

"If you go during the day and with other people, that provides at least as good protection as you're going to get," said Columbia resident Pite Vanwaarde. 


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