Joggers Taking Caution - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/11/04 - Tyler

Joggers Taking Caution

Joggers are taking caution, after a man tried to kidnap a woman from a local park. It happened yesterday in broad daylight at Rose Rudman Park in Tyler around 1:00 p.m.

A witness to the incident, Michael Lowrance, was jogging around the trail and says he saw a suspicious car driving slowly around the park, "I don't why, but I guess the good Lord said, get the license plate number. And so when I went by, I memorized the license plate number the first time."

A move that would later help police catch the suspect, Mark Kennedy. Lowrance said, "Then I see a guy walking around, and he's acting kind of funny, just something odd."

The victim was walking along the trail, when a man approached her and said he felt ill. He asked her to help him to his car, which was parked just outside the trail. She did and he pulled out a knife and tried to force her into his car.

"I hear her screaming, and she's fighting, and so I start running and yelling," Lowrance said.

He and another witness were able to scare off the suspect, who got away in his car. The victim escaped with only minor scratches.

Lowrance then gave police the license plate number he had memorized. Three hours after the attempt, police arrested 39-year-old Mark Anthony Kennedy.

He's now in jail on a $500,000 bond, charged with aggravated kidnapping.

Hundreds of East Texans go to the park everyday.  Police say you should be careful and follow these guidelines:

You need to try to go with a buddy, but if you have to go by yourself, carry a cell phone, in case you need to call for help.

They say it's also a good idea to carry mace, pepper spray, or even your keys to use an a weapon.

If a stranger asks for your help, tell them you'll go find help; don't try to help the person by yourself.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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