LAKE NONA - Orlando Police are on the lookout for a man they said threatened to rape a woman in Lake Nona, and have increased patrols in the area. It happened as she was walking her dog Sunday morning in the Laurette Park neighborhood.
Investigators describe the suspect as a Hispanic man in his mid-20’s. He stands about 5’9" and has an athletic build. He was seen driving a white four-door sedan.
Investigators said the suspect walked up to the woman just after 6 a.m. Sunday and tried to make small talk with her. He made some comments about her body and asked for her number.
When she declined his advances, she told him she was going to call a family member. The man then is alleged to have said, "next time I’m going to rape you."
Sydney Koch heard about the incident and another suspicious incident in the area recently. "It was like, wow this is actually happening right here and it could’ve been the same car but I’m not really sure," she said. She decided a midday walk was the safest time to walk.
"I was definitely not going to go anywhere in the dark or early this morning so that’s why I’m here right now," Koch said.
"I would say I’ve been out walking in this area early in the morning, also midday, and you do get approached by people," said Catherine who walks along the same boulevard in Laureate Park. The area is known for miles of trails and family friendly neighborhoods, but she said this isn’t a surprise.
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"I’ve never been approached by somebody walking, but once in a while, a car will pull up and kind of talk to you or block your path. It does feel a little creepy out here," Catherine said.
The Orlando Police Department said they have received reports of similar instances over the years in the area. Both woman FOX 35 News spoke with said they try to stay alert and look for suspicious people along the path. They also try to walk in pairs and keep their phones handy in case of an emergency.
"More lights around here would be great," said Catherine. "Just bring attention to the greater public and to the city is always helpful to keep people safe."
Police are asking residents to be mindful of suspicious activity and report anything out of the ordinary to the police.