South Bethany investigates assault; victim thrown in canal

The South Bethany Police Department this week was investigating an assault that occurred just after midnight on Sunday, July 5. According to the SBPD, officers were dispatched around 12:48 a.m. last Sunday after they received reports that a man had been attacked in the area of 127 Canal Drive.

“Upon arrival, the victim was found lying on the ground with facial injuries that are consistent with a physical assault,” police said, noting that the victim had pulled himself out of the nearby canal.

The man was a non-resident who was in town to celebrate Independence Day weekend, said Cpl. Patrick Wiley, public information officer for SBPD and lead investigator for the case.

The victim had originally stated that a vehicle with multiple people drove up to him, and “Words were exchanged,” Wiley said, and then the attack occurred.

“He was attacked, and then he was thrown into the canal … but he was able to pull himself out under his own power,” said Wiley, who noted that he believes that someone else called 911 for the victim. “We’ve had other officers follow up. We believe there is more than one suspect involved.”

There were no reports of a robbery as part of the incident.

“I contacted the hospital after he was released. … He sustained a broken nose and had bruises and other lacerations on his face. He was released on the same day of the assault,” Wiley said.

“This is something that normally doesn’t happen very often in South Bethany,” he added.

The suspects were still unknown this week, and the victim had “not indicated whether or not the suspects were familiar to him,” Wiley said, adding that police didn’t yet know if it was a targeted attack.

Nearby witnesses haven’t provided much additional information to police. But residents with home surveillance systems are being asked to contact SBPD as soon as possible, as they might have footage of the vehicle that may have been involved.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact South Bethany Police Department at (302) 539-3996. Tips can also be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at Callers may remain anonymous.