Community comes together to support assault victim

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

April 26, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---An Aiken woman was attacked in her backyard, and people living in the area where it happened say they are hoping to prevent it from happening again.

Many of them say a good place to start is a Neighborhood Watch association.

The residents we spoke with were very friendly, but you could tell they were troubled and very concerned about the assault. They say until a formal Neighborhood Watch association is created, they are going to do their part in keeping a watchful eye on each other.

"There's a lot to do here," said resident Ed Ewing. "We've got a lake, fishing, and the big lots, and it's a friendly community, and to have something like this to happen, it's just shocking."

"It's a little upsetting," said resident Rob Bennett.

Ed, Rob and other residents who live on the quiet street in Aiken's Summer Lakes subdivision where a woman was sexually assaulted are not only worried but angry.

Yesterday, as the woman painted in her backyard, she was pulled into an outbuilding and brutally assaulted. Police are still searching for the suspect.

"Everybody's on the lookout," Ed said. "We are probably going to set up some type of community watch system."

It's peaceful at the Summer Lakes subdivision, and the lots are pretty spread out, but you can also see wooded areas, and that's why police say to be careful when you're outside.

"There is a lot of construction going on that you don't know who's coming in," Ed said.

He says that the family affected had just moved in not too long ago, and even though many in the community didn't know them yet, now is the time to reach out to them and help.

"They were relatively new, hadn't been here long, but your heart goes out to anyone that this has happened to, and hopes that she will recover fast," Rob said.

"It just kind of makes you feel a little unsafe," said a female resident who didn't want to be identified. "It's a little unsettling."

She says she plans to personally reach out to the victim, because it could have easily happened to her.

"If there's anything we can do help them feel more safe, you know, maybe get together and start a neighborhood watch," she said.

"Who's coming in to work, who's coming in to visit...it's hard to regulate, so I think that's going to be one of the neighborly things we're going to do is try to set up some type of community watch," Ed said.

"If she needs anything, family needs anything, give us a call," he went on. "There's not one person in this community who wouldn't help the other one, so if she needs help, we're all here to help."

The community is only about two years old, so that's why a Neighborhood Watch hadn't been started yet. They're hoping they can quickly get something off the ground.

The suspect in this assault is a white male between 20 and 30 years old, about 6 feet tall, with brown hair and a goatee.

He was last seen wearing a baseball cap, a red t-shirt, and jean shorts.

If you have any information, call the police.


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