Crime

Man recants story of Cornwall Park stabbing; he injured himself

A Bellingham police officer and a police dog comb Cornwall Park Wednesday afternoon, March 16, after a man walking a trail was stabbed in the abdomen.
A Bellingham police officer and a police dog comb Cornwall Park Wednesday afternoon, March 16, after a man walking a trail was stabbed in the abdomen. eabell@bhamherald.com

A week after a man reported he had been stabbed in Cornwall Park, he admitted that his wounds were self-inflicted, according to police.

The 23-year-old initially told police he had been walking on a trail through the park when a Hispanic man had stabbed him after he refused to give the man his wallet just before 4 p.m. March 16.

The man was taken to St. Joseph hospital with cuts on his cheek and arm, and the knife hilt sticking out of his abdomen.

Meanwhile, police investigated the crime scene and spent hours searching for the alleged suspect and interviewing potential witnesses. Nearby Parkview Elementary School went into lockdown.

The man later helped a sketch artist create an image of the suspect, but in an interview with detectives on Thursday, March 24, the man recanted his story, Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said.

“During a follow-up interview with the alleged victim, he admitted that he had done this to himself and that there really wasn’t an outstanding suspect that we needed to be concerned about,” Vander Yacht said.

The man has been connected with appropriate health services.

“What’s important is that he was truthful with us so that we can assure number one, the safety of the community and the park, and secondly, we can direct him to the right resources to move forward,” Vander Yacht said. “We’re not upset or frustrated, but we are happy that we know what really happened so that we can certainly remove fears from the community.”

Samantha Wohlfeil: 360-715-2274, @SAWohlfeil

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