Sydney Sutherland, a nurse, was jogging near her home before a farmer, who went to the same high school as her, attacked her.
Trigger warning: Violence, murder, and rape
Female joggers have to go through a lot of harassment just to go about their favorite exercise. From inappropriate photos and catcalls to stalking and even death, female joggers have faced horrific fates, which have grabbed headlines. A horrific incident from Arkansas that took place less than two months ago is bringing back attention to the safety of women who jog.
On August 19, 2020, a female jogger went out for a run near her home in Arkansas and never made it back. Eventually, an Arkansas farmer, 28, was arrested for murdering the 25-year-old female jogger, Sydney Sutherland, who went missing on August 19, 2020.
Quake Lewellyn, a farmer, is being held in the Randolph County jail on charges of capital murder, rape, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse, People confirmed. An attorney for Quake has not been named in jail records.
On August 19, an unidentified person called the Jackson County sheriff’s office around 7 p.m. to report Sydney as missing, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. The community rallied together and a search party was formed to find the 25-year-old nurse. Quake also joined the party. Sydney's body was found in a rural field two days later, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
The 28-year-old Quake, who was married, was arrested the same day. He had told the police he saw the nurse jogging down a rural Jackson County road before going missing. The perpetrator knew the victim but not "particularly well," Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas told the paper. They had gone to the same high school, reported KATV.
The day after she went missing, authorities found her iPhone "in a field along Jackson County Road 41 South" where she had been jogging. It was only 1.3 miles from her home. The police then searched through Quake's phone and found a location services application. It had tracked the phone’s geographic location and led investigators to the location where the farmer had been when Sydney went missing, according to the affidavit.
After his arrest, it was revealed that the perpetrator reportedly "hit her with his truck, raped her, and then buried her in a shallow grave." He had the audacity to then join the search party for her, including a Facebook group formed to search for her, when she was reported missing.
The Arkansas State Police and the FBI had carried out a search for her. Search parties looked for her on foot and three helicopters were used to search from the air, Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas said during a news conference, as per People.
Sydney Sutherland affidavit: Suspect joined community search for victim after he buried her https://t.co/mOgErHq5Rp— True Crime Daily (@CrimeWatchDaily) October 20, 2020
Quake was arrested hours after Sydney's body was found and his phone confirmed that he had been close to the area where she had been jogging. They were able to make his arrest and he is set to be arraigned on October 29.
Few weeks after his arrest, his wife of two years filed for divorce citing "general indignities" for the split, according to KATV. They did not have any children.
In recent years, at least five women were killed while out on a run. Mollie Tibbetts was found stabbed to death near her Iowa home, Wendy Martinez was stabbed to death while jogging in a busy, well-lit area of Washington, D.C.; Karina Vetrano was found dead after going on an evening jog near her New York home, Vanessa Marcotte was killed in broad daylight in Massachusetts, and Ally Brueger was shot in the back while running in Michigan, according to ABC News.
Arkansas farmer accused of murdering female jogger Sydney Sutherland by ramming her with his truck, raping her and then buried her in a shallow grave' before joining the search party when she was reported missing - https://t.co/V2cc1Mvi3U #SydneySutherland #QuakeLewellyn pic.twitter.com/3DmqIPRP8C— Grupily (@grupily) October 20, 2020
Women who jog can take some precautionary measures to their daily run to keep themselves safe. Firstly, as amazing as it sounds to have music, it's better to ditch the earphones to hear if someone is approaching. One could also avoid baggy clothes and ponytails, as they are easy to grab. It is also safer to run with a group of friends and change their route frequently.