Southside neighborhood on alert after woman raped

Woman attacked just before Thanksgiving; no arrests made

Author: Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 09 2013 03:44:40 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 09 2013 06:58:26 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

One Southside community are warning residents after Jacksonville police said a woman was raped two days before Thanksgiving.

With no arrests made, bright yellow signs have been posted in the area of Beach Boulevard and Parental Home Road warning women to watch their backs.

Micheal Mattson walks down Parental Home Road to and from work every day and did not see the signs until they were pointed out to her.

"It's very disturbing, considering I am a mother of a 3-year-old," Mattson said.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the victim said she was attacked outside a convenience store.

The flyer says the woman was there to buy a soda when she was grabbed from behind, dragged to the unidentified man's car in the parking lot, then viciously and violently raped.

"Oh my. I didn't have any idea," resident Gwendolyn Wilson said. "It's frightening. It's heartbreaking."

Reclaim Global, a center for women, men and children who have been sexually abused, posted the signs Saturday. Dr. Kay Smith is the founder and is treating the young woman.

"If somebody was attacked, we need to know about it. We need to heighten our consciousness," Smith said. "I know her personally. She is a phenomenal woman, a PhD student, two children, loves life and has a lot of zeal."

"Honestly, she is one of the worst cases I've ever seen," Smith added. "One of the reasons was the rape alone. But what he said to her and how he nearly killed her, she's also dealing with that trauma."

It's a traumatizing attack Smith said happens far too often in the Jacksonville community. She hopes the signs will put women like Mattson on guard as police investigate.

"I'm definitely going to have someone with me from now on," Mattson said. "It's very, very scary."

Smith said women should be aware of their surroundings, watch over their shoulders at all times, and don't let children wander off too far.

Reclaim Global is working alongside JSO to get the word out. Smith said the center covered a three-block area with 400 hundred signs.

Police said this was an isolated attack.

Anyone with any information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.