WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Charges against a man accused of attempting to kidnap a jogger have been upgraded after an appearance in court.
Dylan Cody Smyers, 19, of Winston-Salem, appeared in court on Monday after being arrested Friday, charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexual battery. Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill upgraded Smyers’s charge to first-degree kidnapping and set a new bond of $250,000 during that appearance.
The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was running in the area of East Salem Avenue around 5:30 p.m. Aug. 23, when she noticed she was being followed. The man followed her for a while before attempting to grab her.
“I’m just like screaming to the top of my lungs. I’m like looking around. There’s nobody in sight, and so I thought that that was it for me,” she said. “It’s right as we’re passing underneath this bridge … even fewer people can see us. He grabs me from behind and starts trying to pull me away from the road toward … a downhill … ditch kind of landscape, and he said, ‘Come with me. Just come with me. I don’t want to hurt you. I’m not going to hurt you.”
He allegedly let her go when a car drove by and she was able to call 911.
“I want the community to know that patrols in the area where this assault took place have been increased. We’re out there. We’re vigilant, and we’re working this case,” Winston-Salem Police Chief William Penn said.
Investigators praised her self-awareness in the moment as helping her avoid further harm during a press conference they held on Friday to update the public about the case, just a few hours before Smyers was taken into custody.
“This appears to be a random and isolated incident, and we do not believe there are other suspects or ongoing danger to the public,” Winston-Salem police say.