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Woman tells I-Team she was raped by Brockton killer who's been on the loose for 10 years

Woman says she was raped by Brockton serial killer who remains on the loose
Woman says she was raped by Brockton serial killer who remains on the loose 04:58

BROCKTON - For more than 10 years, investigators have been looking for a man they say raped at least three women and killed two others in Brockton.

A woman, who wants to be identified only as "Essi," recently told WBZ-TV's I-Team she believes she was raped by the same man just weeks before the two bodies were discovered in 2014.

"I'm pretty sure he was planning on killing me," she said.

Essi's story

It was November 26, 2013. Essi had just been released from a drug treatment program. She was 22 years old, homeless and struggling with addiction. She needed money for her habit and began selling sex in cheap hotels and on the streets of Brockton. On one occasion, she hopped into a car with a man.

"This was such a common thing that I did every day, multiple times a day," she told WBZ-TV.

Essi didn't think twice, the man was good looking. She described him as tall, fit, muscular, handsome, light-skinned or Cape Verdean, and clean cut. He drove a black sedan and Essi said he checked every box. 

"I would have gone on a date with him, as disgusting as that is," she said.

Essi CBS Boston

At first, she said, everything seemed okay, but as they began driving down a dirt road, Essi became alarmed.

"My intuition is kicking in, and I'm starting to feel uncomfortable. He tells me that he can't find his wallet, but he's not looking for his wallet," she told the I-Team.

She said he stopped the car and asked her to get out so he could look under her seat. 

"He came up from behind me and he grabbed me and I instantly couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I'm pretty sure I peed by pants. I even had a knife in my hand. Had one in a one-pocket sweatshirt and dropped the knife on the ground. From there, it was just a blur of being strangled, running away, getting caught. He knew he was way bigger, faster, and stronger than me. He was raping and strangling me for like about four hours. I can't even count how many times," Essie told WBZ.

She said it seemed like the attack went on for hours. Then, her rapist noticed her phone kept ringing. Essi said he asked her who was calling. 

"I said, 'That's my friend. He takes down the make, model and plate number of every car I get into in case I get into trouble,'" she said.

Her quick thinking most likely saved her life. Essi's attacker told her to cover her face with the knit cap she was wearing, and he dropped her off near downtown Brockton. "He's told me he's killed girls," Essi said. "He didn't tell me he was going to kill me but I think he was."

Bodies found in Brockton

Weeks after Essi's encounter, police made a disturbing discovery in December 2014. The body of 20-year-old Ashley Mylett and the skeletal remains of 51-year-old Linda Schufeldt were found half-buried in the dirt on a wooded walking trail in Brockton.

Police believe they were killed by the same man. His DNA found on the victims also linked him to at least three violent rapes in October and November 2013 and in January 2014. At a news conference in May 2017, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said the women "were savagely beaten and tossed aside like garbage."

Essi told the I-Team she believes she's his fourth rape victim.

Brockton Hospital records 

Brockton Hospital records show Essi reported being raped and strangled and that she lost consciousness during the attack. She said she told the hospital staff she was a prostitute who was raped and she asked for a rape kit. But, Essi said, the hospital did not collect samples and it did not preserve any evidence. 

The emergency room report did not mention that any rape kit was given or that any samples were sent to a lab. Doctors did find swelling on her neck and bruises, as well as an injury to her vocal cords. At the time, Essi said, she was afraid to go to the police, thinking that, somehow, she would end up in jail.

"I mean I guess I should have just walked into the police and been like 'hi I'm a prostitute, I just got raped' but after the hospital treated me like that, I was afraid I might end up in jail," Essi said. 

Brockton suspect sketch

Shortly after the bodies were found, police released a sketch of the suspect. Years later, with the help of Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia, scientists using the DNA from the crime scenes were able to predict some of the suspect's characteristics and created a composite image.

Brockton Police released this sketch of a man wanted in a string of violent crimes in 2013 and 2014. Brockton Police

Investigators also checked genealogy websites hoping to find family connections, but so far, the killer and rapist remains on the loose.

Essi said she eventually went to the police, but as time goes by, she has little hope that her attacker will be found and face justice. 

"I just don't think they care too much about prostitutes and drug addicts. Honestly, it sucks. They're easy. Hop in car, and no one will even know they are missing. It's the perfect throwaway person," she told WBZ.

The I-Team reached out to Brockton Police and the Plymouth County District Attorney's office looking for an interview and an update on the investigation, but neither responded. The I-Team also contacted Brockton Hospital about Essi's treatment. A spokesperson told WBZ the hospital was unable to provide any health care information.

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