The bloody scene a woman stumbled upon in the bathroom of a Houston mall Sunday morning was “monstrous,” the woman said.
Near the sink, Ashley Hill said she found a woman, 31, lying face down in a pool of blood. Some of the victim’s teeth were missing, Hill told the Houston Chronicle. There were marks on the victim’s neck left by a garbage bag liner — discarded in front of the victim — which the assailant had wrapped into a rope and used to strangle his victim until she was unconscious.
But by the time Hill arrived, the woman was regaining consciousness and moaning for help, Hill told the newspaper.
Hill, a Houston resident, had decided to walk through Memorial City Mall on Sunday around 8:30 a.m. because of bad weather, she told KTRK. When Hill stopped for a bathroom break, she stumbled upon the bloody crime scene, according to the Houston Police Department.
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“She was bleeding from every side of her head I could see, out of her ears,” Hill told KTRK. “She was in really bad shape.”
After strangling the woman, the suspect had kicked and punched her as well before fleeing the bathroom and getting away by bus, Houston police said.
Police have described the suspect as a black man between 25 and 30, who is between 5-feet-10-inches and 6-feet tall and weighs between 160 and 180 pounds.
“I just can’t imagine why somebody would beat somebody within inches of their life for no reason,” Hill told the Chronicle.
The victim told Hill that she’s an employee at the mall. The victim had been in the bathroom washing her hands when, in the mirror, she spotted a man she didn’t recognize coming at her from behind, the Chronicle reports. But the victim said she remembered little after that.
The woman had tried to shout for help, she told Hill, but she thinks her cries might not have been heard over the noise of a practice that was occurring at a mall hockey rink near the bathroom where she was attacked, KTRK reports.
As Hill and the victim waited for emergency responders, the victim told her she didn’t think she’d been sexually assaulted, the TV station reports.
The victim was taken to a Houston hospital, according to police, and Hill remained with the victim until the victim’s family arrived. The victim is expected to survive the injuries, doctors told police.
“I would ask that everybody try to keep this woman in their prayers and a speedy recovery,” Hill told KTRK.
Hill told the TV station that the woman has undergone surgery to treat a broken jaw. The victim is swollen and still in pain, but “surprisingly upbeat,” her family said.
“It was a brutal, vicious attack,” the victim’s father, who asked not to be identified, told the TV station. “It could have happened to anybody. It was shocking.”