An Oro-Medonte woman is urging people to use caution when walking on the rail trail after her daughter was robbed and another young teen was assaulted.
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Aug. 24, a man approached Hailie Quehe, 14, and her 13-year-old friend on the rail trail between Line 10 and Line 11, said Christine Quehe, Hailie’s mom.
She said the man was on a grey/bronze mountain bike when he approached them and asked if they had cellphone service. He left after they said they didn’t.
They were nearing Line 10 when the man returned. Christine said the man put the 13-year-old boy in a choke hold and threw him to the ground before taking Hailie’s phone and smashing it.
“The attacker then turned towards (Hailie) and raised a fist to hit her,” she said. “The boy got up at this point, directing the attention away from the girl and back onto himself. The boy received several blows to the head by the attacker kicking and stomping on his head. (Hailie) was yelling and screaming at the attacker. Something startled the attacker and he picked up the broken phone, the bank card and case and biked off.”
She said the boy was taken to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and is doing all right.
“They’re both a little jumpy, but, physically, they’re doing well,” Christine said. “We are very grateful for (the boy’s) actions because he prevented Hailie’s injuries. He kept himself in between them.”
After being contacted by OrilliaMatters on Thursday afternoon, Orillia OPP issued a news release Friday. Police said they do “not believe there is an immediate danger to the public,” but they encourage people to “exercise caution at all times, especially in places where visibility is limited.”
Hailie said she remembers little about the frightening incident.
“I sort of blacked out and I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” she said. “I froze.”
She and her mother both urge people to be careful while on the trail.
“We shouldn’t have to be nervous walking down the trail, especially because it was daylight,” Hailie said.
“We’re extremely worried about these kids,” added Christine. “People need to keep their kids safe until this guy is caught. People of all ages walk this trail alone.”
Police did not release a description of the suspect, but Christine said he is believed to be in his mid- to late 30s.
Anyone with information is asked to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or 705-326-3536.