Woman rallies community after frightening experience on Cedar Rapids trail
One week ago, April Mead was on the trails by the Prairie Park Fishery when she says a group of teens started harassing her.
"Friday night, I had just finished my work week," said Mead. "I wanted to blow off some steam-- come out to the trail."
What Mead found out on those trails off Otis Road was far from peace, it was panic. She says four young teens, on bikes, started following and threatening assault. It got bad enough Mead called the police and then looked for a place to hide.
"This incident was just escalating," she said. "I just needed to get to a safe place."
The teens had fled by the time authorities arrived. But, Mead was unharmed, physically.
Fast forward seven days. Mead's story spread online and brought a large group of 50 to maybe 100 supporters together to walk with her as she returned to the trail where it all happened.
It was a moment of solidarity for some.
"It's incredible," said Molly Yacoub, who came out to support Mead Friday night. "Unbelievable the amount of people that are here for April."
To others, the walk was a moment to stand up to violence against women as the state still copes with the murders of Mollie Tibbetts and Celia Barquin Arozamena.
"We don't want to be isolated and stuck at home," said Molly McCalley-Whitters, who also joined the walk. "When we go out we want to feel free to walk and explore in our neighborhoods."
That feeling of freedom without fear is something Mead hoped to find here again. Flanked by the support of others, perhaps it was just a few more steps ahead after that terrifying experience set her back.
"This is not about me," Mead said. "This is about our community. It's about coming together and spreading the message that we look out for each other."
Mead said at last check with authorities, there had been no arrests in her case. She said investigators told her there was little they could do without physical evidence like images of or injuries.