Woman thankful for self-defense tool after alleged attack in her front yard

Published: Nov. 26, 2019 at 7:59 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Columbia Police are continuing to investigate after a woman reported being attacked in her front yard last Sunday.

Officials with CPD released a sketch of what the robbery and assault suspect might look like.

Columbia Police Department searching for robbery and assault suspect.
Columbia Police Department searching for robbery and assault suspect.(Columbia Police Department)

Police said the man reportedly pushed a 27-year-old female to the ground on Summerlea Drive last Sunday, stole her belongings, and attempted to sexually assault her.

Jessica Williams, the woman who was allegedly attacked, said it could have ended very differently. Williams said she was walking to her front door after getting off work late Sunday night when a man came out of the trees and bushes beside her house and tried to attack her.

However, a self-defense keychain, attached to the car keys in her hand, helped her fight him off.

“The moment he started walking down, it was I don’t know what’s going to happen. To what degree is this going to get to is really what my question was,” Williams said.

Williams said the man first tried to grab her purse. When she tried to walk away, he threw her onto the ground.

“If anyone were to come out, no one would be able to see anything,” Williams said.

She said she then gave him her money and phone.

“Once I went irrational, it was just going to be over,” Williams said. “Me running away was going to be me running for my life.”

Instead of leaving, he began trying to take off her clothes. Williams said she then hit him in the face.

“That hit in the face was enough for it to change the plan altogether,” Williams said.

She used a purple cat-shaped key chain. It has spiky ears made for self-defense.

“It doesn’t have to be a big weapon," she said. "It doesn’t have to be something that takes someone’s life, but it can be something that takes them off, takes them by surprise, and gives you that moment for them to go ‘Oh no!’”

She said most of the employees she works with at Lula Drake have the same keychain.

“I just can’t believe that it worked. They aren’t expensive,” Williams said.

Her attacker ran away after she hit him. Williams said police found her phone a few miles away but haven’t been able to find her attacker.

“The guy probably lives a few miles away from my house so that’s the unnerving part,” Williams said.

Williams said she’s confident that, using the sketch and the beanie that was found on the scene, police will find him.

“In a big scenario of wrong, there is a lot to be thankful for as far as how this could have gone,” Williams said.

If you recognize the man in the sketch or have any additional information regarding this incident, Columbia police encourage you to call crime-stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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