Portsmouth Woman Jogger's Story of Attack and Survival

By: Randy Yohe Email
By: Randy Yohe Email

PORTSMOUTH, Oh (WSAZ) -- For so many of us, an evening walk or run is a regular part of our daily lives.

But for many women, especially single women, that evening jog is also an exercise in self-protection.

The sidewalk that circles Portsmouth's Greenlawn Cemetery is maybe the city's most popular walk, jog, or running path.

A young runner in her early 20's was finishing with her run last Saturday evening just before dusk when she said she saw a pick up truck circling. The man driving then parked and began approaching her.

"I was doing a cool down and first saw his truck slowing down and got suspicious,"Jane said.

Jane knew she had to make some quick decisions.

"I was going to go up towards a wooded area I decided that wasn't the best idea so I headed back towards the main road. The way he was walking towards me face down he didn't want me to see his face," Jane said. "I turned down my I-pod and I heard him run up behind me."

Jane said the man then grabbed her, tried to pulled her pants down, and threw her to the ground.

"I started screaming and he got up and ran back to the truck," Jane said. "I ran to a home knocked on the door and no one answered. Then I went next door and just walked in and called 911."

Jane's detailed description to Portsmouth police, coupled with other police suspicions, led them to 24-year-old Jeffery Swick.

Swick was then arrested without incident on a felony kidnapping charge.
He confessed to attacking Jane.

"He saw her jogging and said his intention was nothing more than to slap her or grab her butt," Detective Jim Charles said. We think his intentions were much different and much more sinister."

Detective Charles said Jane's awareness of her surroundings and fear of Jeffery Swick's possible intentions likely prevented her from being seriously hurt or worse.

While Jane wasn't physically injured, she said the mental recovery will take time.

"After, I was anxious, I couldn't be outside by myself I don't feel safe in my own apartment," Jane said. "His arrest, its just piece of mind."

The woman we called Jane is still scared and did not want to be identified by her name.

She still wants to run and said she'll get a gym pass, and find a partner if and when she's ready to run outside again.

Portsmouth Police are now comparing evidence from three other recent incidents regarding threats or attacks on women joggers. They said charges against Jeffery Swick may be forthcoming.

Jeffery Swick is free after posting a twenty thousand dollar bond.
He's charged with kidnapping because Ohio law defines the crime as terrorizing someone and restraining their liberty.

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