Crime

Lakeland woman talks rapist out of attack; DNA evidence nails down arrest

LAKELAND -- Walkers and joggers at Lake Hollingsworth are breathing a sigh of relief.

"It makes me feel happy," walker Isaac Lane said.

Thursday morning, Lakeland Police arrested 37-year-old William McGee for allegedly attacking a 22-year-old woman jogging around Lake Hollingsworth in May.

"The last thing she knew is that an arm was coming around her neck, around her mouth, gagged her and dragged her off into the bushes," Sgt. Gary Gross said.

In the 15 minutes the victim spent with McGee, police say she was able to talk him out of sexually assaulting her.

"She began to personalize with him," Gross said. "They got on a first name basis, she told him what her name was, he said my name's Will."

She even told McGee her mom was dying of cancer and she needed her.

McGee eventually took the woman back onto the path, where she was able to run away.

"She got his mind off the task, off the violent attack," Gross said.

Police found McGee, who is homeless, early Thursday morning. They say he confessed to the attack and his DNA matches samples taken from the victim's clothing, under her nails and even on her earbuds, which detectives say McGee used.

"There is absolutely no doubt scientifically that he's the one who did this," Cpt. Victor White said.

Police say those exercising at Lake Hollingsworth should always be aware of their surroundings, but that they should feel safe knowing McGee is behind bars.

"I'm happy that they caught him," walker Noemi Vega said.

McGee has been arrested 14 times and charged with eight felonies, including burglary and aggravated battery on a police officer.

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