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One Year Later, Investigators Still Searching For Answers

Thursday marks one year since a Penn State graduate student had her throat slashed on a bike trail.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - Thursday marks one year since a Penn State graduate student had her throat slashed on a bike trail in State College.

While walking along the bike path between Vairo Boulevard and Sunset Park on December 12, 2012, the woman was attacked from behind and cut in the throat with a sharp object.

Today, the investigation continues.

It's a case still puzzling investigators.

"There wasn't anyone in the area, there were no cameras there, nobody else saw the guy's face so we could put a composite together," Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham said. "Unfortunately, this is a tough case to work without a lot of strong leads."

Parham says the leads are now few and far between and several questions still remain. Was it a random stranger attack, or was the victim targeted?

"We're not ruling out either angle," he said. "We're not 110% sure yet."

The Penn State grad student had her throat slit, got away from her attacker and ran what police call "some distance" through Sunset Park on Dec. 12, last year. Ferguson Township Police, originally investigating the case, say they were called after a jogger found her.

They began a manhunt, searching in the air and on the ground with dogs and more than 30 officers on foot.

Still today, no arrests have been made.

"At night, I typically bike pretty fast and sometimes I even sing, just to keep my mind off things that I might see out of the corner of my eye," Penn State Junior, James Melnyk said.

Melnyk bikes along the same path every day. He's worried and wondering why, a year later, there are still no answers.

"I hope they get down to the bottom of it and I hope something like that never happens again," he said.

Something Chief Parham agrees with.

"We think there still may be people out there that were in the area that we haven't talked to yet," he said. "We definitely would like to talk to those people. Some people may not think it's significant, but it actually can be."

Investigators are also waiting on forensic evidence to come back from the crime labs for the case.

They say while the investigation continues, people should continue to be aware of their surroundings and use caution while walking on any bike/jogging path.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Penn State Police at 814-863-1111. Crimestoppers is offering an award to anyone whose information leads to an arrest.
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