JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An Arlington woman said she is lucky to be alive after a stranger tried to abduct her New Year's night while she was riding her bike home from a friend’s house.
The woman, whom News4Jax is identifying only as Brenda, said she recounted the terrifying night to News4Jax because she doesn't want anyone else to go through it.
Brenda said she was almost home, riding her bike down Mill Creek Road, when a man ran toward her from between two buildings and threw her off her bike onto the ground.
“He instantly picked me up from behind, put his right arm around my neck, his left hand was over my mouth, at which time he's twisting my neck all the way around,” Brenda said.
She said he threw her into his car through the driver's side.
“I managed to escape,” Brenda said. “He runs after me, tackles me, this time I realized, 'Brenda, you can't win physically. It's mental mode now,' so I relaxed my whole body, because if I'm not aggressive, he's not going to be aggressive.”
She said he dragged her back to the car and forced her in again, this time on the passenger’s side.
“Which instantly let me know, 'This is my getaway, because now you have to walk around the vehicle,'” Brenda said. “When he walked around the vehicle, I fled. I ran.”
And she was finally able to get away for good, Brenda said.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said Brenda did the right thing.
“The most important thing this person did was she stopped, relaxed and thought, 'OK, how do I get out of this?' That is extremely difficult to do in such a stressful situation, because people start fighting and panicking, and you don't think -- you just start fighting,” Smith said. “But she realized, 'I don't have the physical strength to overtake this person, so I have to beat him in another way.'”
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is now looking for the attacker, whom Brenda described as a black man with a medium complexion, between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighing between 155 and 165 pounds, with a low haircut.
She said he was driving an older-model, gray foreign car, possibly a mid-1990s Toyota or Mazda.
Brenda said JSO looked into surveillance at several businesses in the area, including Lee and Cate’s glass, but some of the cameras were live video only, meaning that they don’t record. Another camera showed only a business’ back door, but not on the side where Brenda was attacked.
She said the detective handling the case told her that authorities are following other leads.
JSO said a composite sketch was completed Tuesday. As with any case, police said it will be released to the public when it is needed to further detectives' investigative efforts.
Brenda said she fought to stay alive for a good 7 to 8 minutes.
“I've seen a lot, and I've never feared for my life like that ever,” she said.
Brenda said she hopes the man is caught before he strikes again.
“The next person might not be so lucky, and that in itself is scary,” Brenda said. “Being taken against your will, no one can imagine it.”
Brenda said she lives like a hermit now, scared to come out of her home even during the day. She said a friend gave her a car after the incident, so she feels a little safer using that when she needs to leave her home.
Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500.