SANFORD, Fla. - A bartender that was attacked after leaving work in Sanford, is back on the job. She's speaking out about what happened.
"I have 3 kids at home. I thought I was going to die, and my 3 kids wouldn’t have a mother anymore," said bartender Chelsea Putnam.
Putnam had just finished her shift at George’s Tavern and was about to get into her SUV when she says she was attacked by a stranger.
"Hands come across my throat. Start strangling me. He wouldn’t let me go and I kind of let out a scream," she said. He got me on the ground, started bashing my head in, rip my shirt."
Sanford police said it was an attempted carjacking, but Putnam thinks the stranger had a different motive.
"He picked me up by my neck. And threw me on the ground. My purse and keys were in my hand, and they were dropped. And he just kept on attacking me. That’s why I don’t think it was a carjacking."
She said the man watched her in the bar for hours and believes he was going to rape or kill her, after ripping her shirt.
"It was ripped all the way from my arm sleeve, all the way here, and it had claw marks and rips in it."
The man was wearing gloves. It was premeditated. It wasn’t just something out of the blue," said Putnam.
Sanford police said that based on the surveillance, they think the man was planning a carjacking at the minimum.
Putnam is still in pain with bumps and bruises on her head and legs.
"All through my entire leg and there are bruises coming up. All this was completely wet, I was covered in mud," said Putnam.
According to police, Chelsea’s boyfriend shot and killed the man during the attack. She’s grateful to him for saving her life and describes how he’s a combat veteran.
"173rd Airborne. He’s my angel he’s my saving grace. Like I said if it wasn’t for him, I’d be dead, and I wouldn’t be going home to my 3 kids," said Putnam.
Putnam said she'd continue working at George's Tavern.
"George’s customers are awesome, the family’s amazing. They treat us like family, and they are family."
Sanford police have identified the attacker as 35-year-old Edward Alexander Barfield.