JPD: Attack "victim" was trying to impress date

Published: Mar. 19, 2013 at 7:30 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2013 at 9:30 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jonesboro police say a man thought a staged attack would improve his chances with a woman he wanted to date.

Instead, he said things "got out of hand very fast."

On Saturday night several officers, including a K9 unit, spent two hours combing the woods around the Crowley's Ridge Nature Center on Lawson Road.

Earlier 26-year-old Jeffery Tyler Siegel and a woman claimed they had been attacked while walking back from the lookout pavilion.

The couple told police a man wearing all black and wielding a large knife came out of the woods and told Siegel, "You can go; but, your girlfriend stays."

The woman reportedly ran away and called police.  But Siegel stayed and fought the attacker.  Or so he told police.

Siegel claimed the man "slashed" him twice on the chest and the wrist before he grabbed him and kneed him in the stomach.

At that point, he said the man turned and ran away.

After two hours of searching the surrounding area, including closing the only exit to Craighead Forest Park, police were unable to find the "attacker" and the search was called off.

On Monday, Detective Mike Branscum interviewed Siegel's date.  She said she felt that something was "not right" that night and that "Tyler was texting just before the assault," according to the police report.

Branscum then called Siegel and asked him to come in for an interview.  But, Siegel was "reluctant" and asked several times why Branscum needed to speak to him, according to the report.

Eventually Siegel agreed to meet with the detective.  According to the report, he initially told the same story.  But the detective said he could "tell from his body language" that Siegel, who was also "very nervous," was withholding something.

Siegel began to "shut down" and became "verbally unresponsive," Branscum reported.

After several minutes, Branscum said he would not file charges if Siegel would just tell the truth.

According to the report, "At that point he finally confessed that he lied about the incident."

Siegel told the officer he "really liked" the woman and "felt that if he did something like this it would help him with his chances with her."

Siegel said he contacted a friend a couple days before Saturday and staged a fake attack, according to the report.

After the woman ran away, Siegel told Branscum he scraped himself to "make it look like he was cut by the attacker's knife."

According to the report, Siegel said "he did not ever intend on it going this far and that he did not plan on the police being notified.  He said it just really got out of hand very fast."

Siegel was not charged and the case is considered closed.

As for the woman, when contacted by Region 8 News she said the attack seemed "very real."

She also said that what Siegel had done "was not very heroic."

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