Poway sexual assault victim breaks silence, seeks clues

POWAY, Calif. - For the first time, the victim of a brutal sexual assault in Poway is sharing her story.

The dozens of scars on her arm show how hard she fought and how much pain she endured.

She asked to be identified only as "Shelby."

"I was screaming the loudest I've ever screamed, and no one came," said Shelby.

Before the screams, Shelby – who was 44 at the time – was taking a quiet evening walk in a Poway neighborhood on April 16, 2012.  

On Vaughan Road, at about 8 p.m., Shelby says she was grabbed from behind, with a knife at her throat.

He dragged her partway into a drainage ditch. Shelby grabbed onto a fence to prevent being dragged completely into the ditch.

"He decides this is where it's going to happen right then and there and started cutting off my clothes," said Shelby.

She says he raped her and sexually assaulted her with the knife.

Shelby says he tried to cut her throat, but she blocked it with her arm.

"He said, 'I'm going to kill you, and you won't get out of this ditch alive,'" she said.

Shelby says she hit him in the chest area and sent him tumbling, allowing her to get away.

More than two years later, she is still undergoing reconstructive surgeries.

A leg brace is needed for a spinal injury she suffered during the struggle. Her mental wounds are still fresh.

"I can't go out without having someone with me," Shelby said. "I basically didn't leave the house for two years. I have nightmares every night. I see him when I close my eyes."

Shelby helped create a sketch of her attacker. She has searched online and combed her memory and finally identified the weapon: a knuckle knife.

Now, she's telling her story in hopes of sparking some tips.

"I want him put away in jail where I know that this won't be done to someone else … that this won't happen to my daughter," she said. "I just want justice."

Shelby says the man weighed about 240 pounds and may have had an accomplice nearby wearing a hoodie.

If you have any information, you are encouraged to call San Diego County CrimeStoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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