Teen charged in Haile attack

Published: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 8:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 8:46 p.m.

A 19-year-old Haile Plantation resident has been charged with the Sunday night attack on a woman in Haile Plantation.

Deputies credit an observant resident with helping to crack the case but had not come up with a motive by late Wednesday.

Alachua County sheriff's deputies charged Tyler Allen with battery on a person 65 years of age or older. He was arrested at the Alachua County jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Allen became a person of interest and was questioned about the case on Tuesday, the same day he was arrested for possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The case began when the 65-year-old woman reported being attacked while she was walking alone in the 9900 block of SW 46th Boulevard shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday.

The woman told officers that while she was walking, a man stepped out of the shadows and hit her in the head. She said she fell but was able to get up, run away and yell for help. The man left without further harming the woman.

Sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey said the break in the case came Tuesday when a resident called the Sheriff's Office to report seeing a suspicious vehicle in the area.

"The resident told us they were calling us about the vehicle due to the recent battery," Forgey said. "They had seen this vehicle in the area of the 10000 block of SW 44th Avenue for several hours at a time during the previous couple of days."

Deputies dispatched to check on the vehicle on Tuesday said they found Allen inside along with a small amount of marijuana, some drug paraphernalia and a strong odor of marijuana.

Detective Mark Litzkow interviewed Allen, who reportedly stopped answering questions and asked to see an attorney when asked about the attack. Litzkow said Allen did tell him that he had gotten into a fight Saturday morning with his family, who lives in Haile Plantation, and left home. Allen claimed he spent a night at a motel, Litzkow said.

Deputies said Allen may have slept in his vehicle in Haile Plantation on Sunday and Monday nights.

Deputies said they did not have a clear motive behind the attack Wednesday night, even after interviewing Allen.

"We think there may have been some other factors involved," said Forgey. "When our deputies found him in his vehicle, there was a strong odor of marijuana, so that may have been a factor, and we are still investigating his background."

The woman who was attacked was asked to try to identify her assailant from a photo lineup, deputies said.

"She was able to identify him, but there was a little doubt in her mind," Forgey said. "This was a case that was solved with help from the resident who called us about something suspicious in the neighborhood and with good old-fashioned police work asking questions, checking alibis and things like that."

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