Teen Escapes Attempted Sexual Assault

An East Texas community is shaken up after a teenager in their area was attacked inside her own home. It's the fourth sex-related assault in southern Smith County since March.

The victim, who asked for her identity to be concealed, managed to fight off her assailant. But he's still on the loose.

The attack began around 8:25 a.m., Monday morning.

"When I hit the garage door to get to my car," recalls the young woman. "It came about half way open and a man that was covered in a ski mask ran in, closed the garage door and forced me into the house."

For the next few moments, the young woman struggled with her attacker until he gave up and left. A day later, she's still wondering what made him take off.

"It's a miracle, I know God was definitely with me," she says. "It might have been that I talked to him...that I fought back and that scared him."

The young woman says she's putting the word out, so other Smith County woman will watch their surroundings. She says it appeared as if the attacker knew her daily routine.

"It definitely seemed like he planned it out," she says. "He definitely knew what he was doing, and I don't know what his motives are exactly, but I hope God has mercy on him."

With her attacker still on the loose and no leads so far, the young woman hopes her story can make people aware.

"You probably think it would never happen to you, but it does," she says. "Just be careful and don't take anything for granted."

The attack against the teen is the second in Gresham this year, and there's been two others in Flint and Bullard. All three women in those cases were sexually assaulted, says Major Lusk with the Smith County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators are checking to see if any of the Smith County cases are related, and are also comparing them to South Tyler cases. Major Lusk says in all of the county's cases, the women were unable to give descriptions of their attackers.

In the latest case, the victim says the attacker is about 5'6" and has a stocky build. She saw part of a mustache under his mask. And he was also wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, sweat pants, a mask and gloves.

If you have any information, you can call the Smith County Sheriff's Department.
   Kerri Panchuk, reporting.