FOLEY – Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the stabbing of a woman in Heritage Park on Wednesday.

Bernard C. Abney, 40, of Mobile was arrested Saturday. He was being held in the Mobile Metro Jail on Sunday.

We are relieved that he is in custody and appreciate all the hard work by the many agencies involved as well as the media and citizens of our local communities,” Foley Police Chief Thurston Bullock said. 

Mayor Ralph Hellmich praised efforts to locate and arrest the suspect.

I am very proud of our police force and the team effort to bring it to a close with an arrest,” Hellmich said. “These types of crimes are extremely rare in our community but when they occur, they cause great anxiety. It is no surprise to me that our men and women closed this difficult case quickly.”

Foley police said earlier that Abney will charged with one felony count of second-degree assault – assault with a deadly weapon – and one felony count of first-degree attempted rape.

The woman was attacked on the Wilbourne Antique Rose Trail on Wednesday evening. Police received a 911 call at 5:40 p.m. The caller reported that a woman had run into a business and said that she had been stabbed.

Police arrived at the scene and found that the woman had been stabbed in the arm, torso and thigh. She was taken to University Hospital for treatment of injuries that were described as non-life threatening.

The woman has been released and is recovering at home.

Bullock said the victim’s strength and tenacity coupled with her fighting back likely ended the attack and possibly saved her life.  

Abney was believed to be homeless. Police said that he may have been staying with people that he knew and in homeless encampments.  He also frequented venues that assist the homeless.  

Bullock said the case created a sense of fear within Foley citizens, and the investigation was an “all hands on deck” case.  Through the team work of employees, diligent effort in the investigation by detectives and the assistance and tips generated by the public, police have been able to identify a suspect and establish probable cause for arrest warrants in the case

Abney spent 18 years in prison after being convicted on a rape charge, according to reports. Hellmich said the arrest is an indication that the defendant should not have been released.

“I am however disappointed in our state system for allowing an early release of a person who has not been rehabilitated into society,” Hellmich said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Foley Police Department at 251-943-4431.