Young girl flashed by man hiding in woods at Shelby Farms

Shelby Farms, a 4,500 acre park laden with wooded trails, is an easy lair for predators to hide in the shadows.

Mark Higgenbotham of Memphis in Motion is the running coach for a middle school track team.  During a recent run, Higgenbotham said, two adults were with the team, but somehow, a 13-year-old girl became isolated as they ran.
   
According to investigators, a man hiding in the brush flashed the girl, pulling his pants down to his ankles.

Investigators said the man had already crossed the line when he flashed the girl, but he took it one step further by beckoning her over, telling her to 'come here.'

Now, both investigators and school officials are searching for the man.

"A lot of emails have gone out, and everybody in the running community is aware that this went on," Higgenbotham said.

The school system is requiring track teams run in packs, and undercover officers will now patrol the park.
 
"We're trying to get people out there to match the general public, that you're not going to think anything about the way they're dressed, what they're doing," said Det. Andrea Richardson of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

In this case, the young girl ran fast and caught up with the pack.
    
But if the flasher shows up again, "Everybody knows this guy is out there," Higgenbotham said. "So if he's out there, so if it happens in the vicinity of another runner, we're going to run him down and catch him."

Law enforcement urges people who visit the park to use the buddy system.  They suggest that runner don't wear headphones, and keep an eye out for unusual behavior.

to email Kontji Anthony.