After almost two days of searching, local police have yet to find the man who stabbed a female Penn State graduate student Wednesday along a bike trail between the Penn State Arboretum and Sunset Park.
According to a release issued by Penn State Live late Thursday afternoon, the location of the assault was determined to be a part of the Penn State campus, thus changing the jurisdiction of the investigation over to Penn State Police rather than Ferguson Township.
Penn State issued an update through the PSUTXT service Thursday afternoon, as well, updating students on the progress of the search and complying with the Clery Act, Penn State Clery Compliance Coordinator Gabriel Gates said.
The man involved in the incident, who is now being described as a white male in his 20s or 30s and about 5-foot-8 with a “slim to medium build,” is still at large and the community should act in caution, according to the release.
The man also has a visible bite mark on one of his hands — inflicted by the woman he assaulted — and is believed to be wearing all black clothing, including a black puffy jacket, a black knit hat and a black backpack, according to the release. Police reported that he has unknown facial hair, which at one time was described as a beard coming to a point.
According to another release issued by the Centre County District Attorney’s Office, the woman was grabbed from behind by a man she did not know about 200 yards from the end of Clinton Avenue at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The man then proceeded to “slash” the woman’s neck, requiring hospital treatment and stitches, according to the release. The graduate student who was assaulted has since been treated at Mount Nittany Medical Center and released.
Police are asking that anyone who may have seen a person matching the description of the man between noon and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the vicinity of the Arboretum, Sunset Park, Curtin Street, Big Hollow Road, East Aaron Drive and Vairo Boulevard to come forward.
Anyone seen in the vicinity of Oakwood Avenue, Colonnade Boulevard or the Woodycrest area between 2:45 and 7:30 p.m. is also being asked to contact police immediately, according to the release.
In addition, police are also looking to contact an unidentified male jogger who was in the area of the attack at about 2:15 p.m., according to the release.
Penn State students can expect updates about the search progress as the investigation continues through PSUTXT and Penn State Live, Gates said. Both are considered avenues of “timely notice,” a requirement of the Clery Act, he said.
Because police determined the incident did occur on university property, Gates said the stabbing is now considered a Clery crime and will be treated accordingly. Although the university is not required to continue updates on the progress following the initial release, he said due to the nature of the incident, students can except to be kept updated.
Penn State Police is advising students to not walk alone and instead utilize the free Security Escort Service at 814-865-9255, as well as to remain alert to their surroundings, according to the release.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Penn State Police at 814-863-1111 or Centre County Crimestoppers at 1-877-99-CRIME.