Suspect arrested in attack of female jogger on Seminole County trail, Florida deputies say

A 19-year-old man was arrested overnight for attacking – and biting – a woman while she was running along a trail in Central Florida, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

The arrest comes hours after deputies shared surveillance video of the alleged suspect, who was seen on a homeowner's surveillance camera walking behind the 22-year-old woman on the West Wekiva Trail on Monday night.

William Paul Stamper, 19, of Longwood, Florida, was arrested and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility on one count of attempted sexual battery, the sheriff's office said early Wednesday. He was apparently located in an unincorporated area of Seminole County.

Stamper made his first appearance before a judge on Wednesday and is facing a felony charge of attempted sexual battery that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail.  The judge ordered that he be held without bond. 

"I find that you are a danger to the community," the judge said.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma told reporters on Tuesday that the victim in this alleged attack noticed someone behind her as she was jogging along the trail around 8:45 p.m. on Monday. She slowed down to conserve energy, she said and took out one of her headphones to listen.

The man continued to follow her and then ran after her.

"Before she knew it, she was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground by this man," said Sheriff Lemma. "She had one hand on her pants, one hand on her phone, as he grabs from behind and moves his body in a sexual motion on top of her." 

The man also bit the woman's back during the attack, he said. The woman screamed for help and two neighbors reacted – one called 911, and the other jumped a fence to help.

"She sounds hurt," the caller told the 911 dispatcher. "She definitely sounds like she was injured. She was screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’"

Another 911 caller reported that the suspect then took off running down a trail behind a home.

"He crosses the street right in front of our house and takes the pathway, the walking path down the side of the property," the caller explained.

The sheriff's office released the surveillance video on Tuesday, hoping someone in the area may recognize the man or had seen what happened.

Authorities said a hat with a local company's brand was found at the scene and helped deputies solve the case. An arrest report said Stamper was captured on camera entering the trail wearing a dark, baseball style hat and leaving without it.

On Tuesday, management at a Sonny's BBQ location in Apopka was consulted. 

"They were like, look this is a hat that represents our company and looking at the video, it looks like it could be one of these employees who happen to be off and not working in those hours," Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma told FOX 35 News Wednesday. "You may want to look at one of these two people, and of course one of them ended up being the person responsible for this very dangerous crime."

Stamper, who is a part of a large adopted family, reportedly confessed to involvement, the sheriff's office said. 

Sheriff Lemma said it appeared the woman was targeted and that the alleged attacker learned her routine. "A total stranger," he said.

The sheriff's office said they are looking into a similar incident reported to deputies after Stamper's arrest. A week prior to incident, a man of a similar description may have followed her home. Stamper has not been charged in that crime. 

Deputies said they will have additional patrols in the community, but Sheriff Lemma wants the public to know that it is safe to go outside.

"It’s absolutely safe to go outside. The last thing we want is for people to feel like they have to shelter in place," Sheriff Lemma said.