NEW ORLEANS – Cloaked in anonymity and buoyed by strength she never knew she had, one woman relives the day that not only scarred her life, but very nearly ended it.
The woman had moved to Algiers Point four years ago, choosing it specifically because it was the safest neighborhood in her price range. An avid jogger, she loved to run along the levee three to four times a week, even at night because she felt safe.
“They paved it and lit that path a few years ago. It was lit specifically for night and used by joggers and bike riders and it was well frequented at night,” she said.
Mary would enter the levee on Elmira Avenue, jog down to Old Point Bar, turn around and run back. But the night of December 28 was different.
“I was running pretty quickly so I saw him but I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “He just looked like a normal person sitting on the bench.”
Her attacker stopped her in her tracks “one bench past the Old Point Bar.” She said he tackled her from behind with such force that she lost her breath. Then, he covered her mouth.
He dragged her to the water’s edge, where at first she thought she was about to be robbed. She was worried that she had no money. He then told her he had a gun and what he planned to do next.
“He whispered that he wanted to sexually assault me,” she said.
She said struggled to scream but each time he’d shove her face in the dirt and choke her until she couldn’t breathe. But that this point, she could still see.
The man on top of her was well groomed, wearing a white shirt, black shorts and tennis shoes. He was in his late teens or early 20s, about 5’8” to 6” tall, with an athletic build and extremely dark complexion. He also had shoulder length small twists or braids that violently whipped from side to side as he beat her.
Mary was about to be sexually assaulted and though she couldn’t breathe, she could bite.
“At the point at which I couldn’t fight back anymore, he sexually assaulted me and I saw an opportunity to injure him. When I did that, he became way more violent,” she said.
It was then that the attacker’s anger turned to rage.
“He kind of stepped back and looked at himself and said, ‘look what you did,’” she said.
He then beat her so badly that metal plates now fit where bones once did. Her eyesight was permanently damaged and her hip was dislocated. She was clinging to consciousness when the attacker finally fled.
“I kept trying to stand up and I couldn’t,” she said. “I kept collapsing back down and I couldn’t figure out why. And I couldn’t crawl either, so I started dragging myself on my back through the dirt with one hand.”
Eventually, a jogger heard her screams and came to her rescue, followed quickly by New Orleans Police Sex Crimes Detective Kevin Richardson.
Police say they canvassed the area for surveillance video. While Mary received medical care, detectives tried to find out if her attacker did too.
“We checked urgent cares, clinics, hospitals, we checked everything we could,” Richardson said.
Even though Mary’s rape kit was processed and some leads were obtained, no arrest has been made. Detectives say they’ve researched crimes going back a few years and believe this was an isolated incident.
It’s been six months and Mary is on the mend. For personal reasons, she’s sharing her story to warn all other women about the well-groomed rapist who is still on the loose.
The reward for information on this case has been increased to $5,000. If you have any information that could help investigators, contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.