Suspect sought after woman attacked in broad daylight

- It was in the area of Daytona Beach Shores that the Volusia County Sheriff says a violent attack happened over the weekend.

The sheriff is talking about the case for the first time, saying the attack was so brutal, the victim is lucky to be alive. 

“This was a brutal, blitzkrieg-like attack,” said Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood. 

It was an ambush on the beach. A 68-year-old woman was attacked from behind, hit in the head, knocked to the ground, then sexually assaulted all in broad daylight during her regular early morning walk on the beach Saturday. 

“When she came to, she had severe facial injuries. I think she was kind of dazed.”

So dazed, Sheriff Chitwood says she walked herself to the police station “and said ‘I think I fell.’”

It wasn’t until later, Sheriff Chitwood says, that she realized she suffered more than just a fall. A forensic test at the hospital confirmed she was sexually assaulted. Now law enforcement is on a mission. 

“With a crime like this, if you don't get this early enough, this is where your serial rapists and your serial killers emerge from.”

Sheriff Chitwood has been canvassing hotels and businesses for video of the attack, looking for anything to find who would do this to a woman in her late 60s.

“This is out of the norm. This is not something that we see a lot here, and when a sexual assault occurs, we cannot give that victim back her sense of self, her sense of security, her sense of being,” said Chitwood.

The key to find the attacker could lie in the results of some forensic testing, which Sheriff Chitwood expects back next week. There’s also a $5,000 reward for anyone who has information that could lead to an arrest in the case. 

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