published Friday, May 25th, 2012

Marion County seeking stabbing suspect

  • photo
    This is a composite sketch produced by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office of a man suspected in Marion County of stabbing a woman repeatedly at a home north of Powells Crossroads, Tenn., on April 13.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Marion County authorities continue to follow leads in the April 13 knife attack on a woman who was stabbed multiple times and was flown to Erlanger hospital with a 6-inch knife still embedded in her.

So far, a number of people have been eliminated as suspects in the attack, which took place at a home north of Powells Crossroads, Tenn., and officials continue to investigate, Marion County Sheriff's Office Chief Detective Gene Hargis said this week.

Lots of tips have been called in, but so far none have led to a suspect, Hargis said.

"We have ruled out about 15 or so suspects," he said. "We're still receiving information and following leads as they come in and questioning folks."

Hargis said investigators are awaiting test results to help determine the nature of the assault on the 34-year-old woman who was stabbed repeatedly by a man who approached her at a home off Alvin York Highway, saying he was a Jehovah's Witness.

According to Hargis, the man was "talking religious jargon and [the victim] basically told him she wasn't interested and tried to shut the door, and that's when he kicked the door and came in on her."

The victim phoned for help once the man left, he said.

Authorities say the woman had stab wounds in the abdomen, groin, chest and face, and the weapon -- a 6-inch-long steak knife -- was still embedded in her body when she was airlifted to Chattanooga for treatment. She since has been released from the hospital.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said there were no initial signs that anything was taken from the home and there were no confirmed reports of suspicious vehicles in the area that afternoon.

The assailant is described as a dark-haired man with a dark complexion, about 5 foot 8 and weighing about 200 pounds with a "scruffy" beard and "bad" teeth, authorities said. He was last seen about 2 p.m. CDT on April 13, wearing a dark shirt, khaki pants and a red baseball cap.

Anyone with any information about the attacker is asked to call Hargis or Detective Beth Schindel at 423-942-2525.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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