Tyler Police identify suspect in attempted sexual assault at park

Tyler Police identify suspect in attempted sexual assault at park

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A spokesperson for the Tyler Police Department confirmed Wednesday night that a suspect has been arrested in connection to an attempted sexual assault that occurred at Rose Rudman Park on March 14.

James Earl Roberts, Jr, age 32, has been arrested. Crime scene investigators were able to locate a fingerprint on the victim’s phone that was found in the park by police, and that eventually led to the identity of Roberts. Investigators are currently processing other items of evidence that are related to this case.

James Earl Roberts, Jr, age 32, has been arrested and arraigned in Judge Kennedy's court. (Source: Tyler Police Department.)
James Earl Roberts, Jr, age 32, has been arrested and arraigned in Judge Kennedy's court. (Source: Tyler Police Department.)

Roberts was taken to the Smith County Jail and charged with Aggravated Kidnapping, a 1st degree felony. His bond was set at $350,000 by Judge Christi Kennedy.

Officer Don Martin also said that Roberts was arrested for public intoxication on Saturday, two days after the alleged assault. He was released on a $500 personal recognizance bond on Saturday.

He was home in Tyler when investigators asked him to come in for questioning about the incident. He agreed and while they were interviewing him, investigators believed they had sufficient cause to obtain a warrant for their arrest, which they did.

RAW VIDEO: James Earl Roberts Jr. escorted into Smith County Jail

Background:

On Thursday at around 7:34 p.m., a woman in her 20s was running on the paved trail in Rose Rudman Park, just south of the banks at Copeland and the loop, when she passed a man, now identified as Roberts, sitting on a bench, police said.

She said the man came running up behind her and forced her into a wooded area using a weapon and attempted to sexually assault her. Officer Don Martin with the Tyler Police Department said the woman fought the attacker and screamed loudly, finally getting away from him. The man fled on foot. Another runner came by at that time and called 911 for her. Police responded to the scene.

Officers say they found evidence at the scene where the incident occurred that supported the victim’s account.

Officer Martin said the woman escaped the attack with minor injuries. She was not taken to the hospital.

Officer Martin says this is a good reminder to the public that there is safety in numbers when outside, and that it is important to pay attention to the onset of nightfall.

Copyright 2019 KLTV. All rights reserved.