A Jonesboro, Ark., man allegedly staged a knife attack while on a walk with a potential girlfriend Saturday night. His plan backfired and a police manhunt ensued.
Jeffery Tyler Siegel, 26, was walking with lady friend, Brianne Coots, at a romantic look-out near Crowley's Ridge Nature Center when a masked man dressed all in black came out of the woods with a knife and approached them.
Siegel and Coots told KAIT-TV that the attacker said to Siegel, “You can go, but your girlfriend stays.”
That's when Coots took off running. She called 911 as she ran down a cliff and across the field.
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Coots: Somebody attacked me and my friend. I'm having to run.
Dispatcher: Somebody attacked you?
Coots: Yes. Please hurry.
Siegel claimed the attacker slashed him, but he was able to courageously fight him off. He had cuts on his wrists and chest.
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After searching the nature preserve for hours, police couldn't find the assailant.
Later Coots told police something was not quite right about that evening. Apparently, Siegel sent a lot of text messages right before the incident.
"When we got out here, he wasn't really even talking that much," Coots said. "None of this really clicked to me until afterwards."
When police called Siegel for an interview they told him that if he told the truth he would not be charged. At that point, he admitted that the masked man was really a friend of his. He asked him to stage the attack in order to make him appear heroic in front of the girl who he said he wanted to impress. The defense-wounds had been self-inflicted.
Siegel admitted that he did not see "it going this far, and he did not plan on the police being notified...It just really got out of hand very fast.”
He and his friend were not charged. Coots said the humilation from the whole ordeal should be punishment enough for Siegel. He fessed up to her after speaking to police.
"And sure enough, the whole thing had been set up," Coots said. "I was completely just infuriated when I found out about it."
She added: "You buy people flowers. You don't stage a fake rape attack scene."
Coots says she won't be talking to Siegel after the incident.