Israel Pagan: Florida jogger fights off man who attacked her on hiking trail days after Eliza Fletcher murder
ORLANDO, FLORIDA: A woman in Florida fought off a teenage assailant who grabbed her on a popular hiking trail near Orlando. The jogger was grabbed by the attacker, identified as 19-year-old Israel Pagan. The incident occurred on Sunday, September 4, as she ran along the Little Econ Greenway Trail at about 5 pm.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the woman was able to fight off the attack and also managed to take a photo of the teenage assailant, according to the New York Post. The news comes days after Eliza Fletcher went missing on Friday, September 2, after going for a 4.20 am jog. Fletcher's body was found about a hundred yards from the Longview Gardens apartment complex on Tuesday, September 6.
As the New York Post reports, police officers used the image of the jogger to search the area. The attacker was eventually arrested. Pagan told officers that he grabbed the woman by the shoulders and got on top of her before ending the attack.
Pagan also admitted to police officers that he was drunk at the time of the attack. He now faces charges of attempted sexual battery. Cops have discovered that Pagan may have assaulted other joggers nearby in addition to the female jogger. They are reportedly asking potential victims to come forward. According to Fox News, residents told WESH-TV, that they generally felt safe in the areas around the trail but avoided the more deserted areas where park rangers were less likely to be seen and which offered fewer opportunities to escape an attacker.
As mentioned earlier, the attack came days after Tennessee jogger Eliza Fletcher was forced into an SUV and later killed by suspect Cleotha Abston. He was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and tampering with evidence in connection to her disappearance. The 38-year-old is currently being held on a $510K bond whereas, his brother Mario Abston is being held in the Shelby County Jail in Memphis on unrelated charges. The body of Eliza Fletcher was found seven miles away from where she was last seen just hours before her suspected killer Cleotha Abston's court appearance in Memphis.