While a woman was walking her dogs in her suburban Los Angeles neighborhood, she was assaulted by a suspect who was released from jail only hours earlier. Believing she wouldn’t survive, the brave woman made sure that her attacker would never forget her.
A woman who survived a brutal rape and assault is telling her horrific story as a warning to other women. Marissa Young was walking her two 13-year-old dogs late at night in the Torrance neighborhood of Los Angeles. She had just finished her shift at a nearby restaurant.
While walking near the Nova Community Church, a man attacked Marissa from behind. “I was tackled from behind, I heard nothing,” she told KTLA. “I didn’t have headphones in, I wasn’t looking at my phone, I was just walking straight forward to my destination.”
The man forced her to the ground and began beating and raping Marissa. “I’m being raped! I’m being killed!” she screamed. “I was barrel-rolled around and continuing to try to fight this person off,” she said. “At one point he had me on my back with his fingers around my neck, and held me down real close here and was strangling me, and sort of let me know that ‘I have control – if you don’t stop screaming and yelling, I’ll kill you.'”
“I fought back like crazy – I did everything to get this person off of me,” Marissa said. “I bit his fingers, I tried to push him off of me.” She then detailed what happened next. “He asked – well told – me to perform oral sex on him, which is when I bit his penis as hard as I could – to try to bite it off in the hopes that he would run away,” she explained.
“It did not come off – it just injured [his penis] severely – it just angered him and enraged him. He beat me even more severely. He was able to continue the rape even though he was severely injured in that sense,” Marissa added. “This person punched me in the face, closed-fisted, 15 to 20 times at least,” she said of the brutal attack.
The vicious sexual attack lasted an agonizing 30 minutes. “My nose is broken in four different places, and this bone was shattered here [she points to her upper cheek area]. You can still see a lot of swelling in my face,” Marissa said. “This is a nightmare, just let me wake up from it. For whatever reason, he decided not to kill me and said, ‘You can go now,’ and pointed out my keys in the grass.”
The bloodied sexual assault survivor was naked from the waist down. She ran to a nearby home – where she had to persuade the resident to let her inside and call 911. The attack left Marissa missing teeth and suffering broken bones, deep bruises, and emotional scars. She was partially blind for about a month after the gruesome attack. Her agonizing injuries required five surgeries.
The alleged attacker was 46-year-old Darrell Waters, who was described as a local homeless man. Police say Waters had just been released a few days earlier for the unlawful possession of a dagger. He was arrested by police within 36 hours of the attack on Marissa Young. Waters was charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration by use of force.
Marissa Young expressed her anger that the suspect had been released from jail so soon after his earlier arrest. “It’s horrifying to think that they were holding this guy with a huge knife that was taken off him that’s illegal and he was let go the next day even though he has a record,” she told KTLA. “Once something like this happens to you, it sort of changes your mind as to what the laws should be.”
Her friends launched a GoFundMe drive to help her cover the cost of living and medical expenses. “She is the brightest and shiniest person I know,” her friend Debbie wrote. “Small in stature but big in personality, she is kind, compassionate, loves and accepts others, and is also a fierce little pocket full of dynamite. In short, she is a beautiful woman with a bright future and was set to start nursing school in the fall.”