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Authorities searching for suspect following Willard Park stabbing

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:46 PM

WILLARD - Authorities are looking for a Hispanic male accused of stabbing a rural Willard man once in the chest Sunday night.

The victim, Steven M. Smith, 34, said he was walking in Willard Park when the suspect said something threatening in Spanish and then stabbed him on the left side of his chest "right above the heart." The doctors at Mercy Hospital of Willard haven't told Smith how far the wound was from his heart.

He said he was doing "OK ... hanging in there" as of Monday afternoon. Police said Mercy listed him in good condition.

Smith described his attacker as 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds. A sheriff's report says the suspect wore a red hat, blue jeans and a white or gray shirt.

After the attack, Smith walked to nearby home where a Willard ambulance was dispatched.

"I couldn't tell you how far it was," the man said by phone from his hospital bed.

Willard Police Detective Sgt. Rick Sexton estimated the home was about 100 yards from the park, located between Main Street and Austin Drive.

Sexton said he searched the wooded area and walking trails for the suspect for two hours Sunday. "But the guys would have continued throughout the night," he added, referring to Chief Joe Daniel, three other Willard officers plus various sheriff's deputies and state troopers.

One of the responding officers was canine handler Officer Chris Kelbley, who searched the area with police dog Rexi, but the dog was unable to track the suspect.

Sexton said there have been no leads and there was no sign of evidence.

"We looked there (Sunday) night, but it got dark and again (Monday) morning," he said.

Smith, who walks at Willard Park a couple times a week, said the stabbing was unprovoked. He knew no reason for why someone would attack him.

Sexton said this is the first stabbing in Willard he has investigated in his 18 years with the department.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Willard Police Department at (419) 933-2561 or the tip line at (419) 933-6110.

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