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Woman who says she was sexually assaulted speaks out

10:16 PM, Apr 14, 2013   |    comments
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Woman who says she was sexually assaulted in Jacksonville Beach speaks out

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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A woman who says she was sexually assaulted in Jacksonville Beach Friday morning speaks out.

"The worst 10 minutes of my life," said the victim.

The woman said it was a normal outing. She was in between get-togethers and was skateboarding a couple of blocks to meet some friends. She was at the 100 block of First Avenue North in Jacksonville Beach when she reportedly came face to face with the suspect.

"He was walking west on the other side of the street, barefoot, just kind of waddling along, mumbled something to me, 'which way is Mayport,' I'm still in motion, all I did was point my finger and said it's that way, kept going, three seconds later I heard footsteps behind me," said the victim. 

That's when she said the suspect, 21-year-old Edward Marshall-Byrd Jr. who has been arrested, allegedly threw her to the ground.

"Put his hand immediately over my mouth so I wouldn't be able to scream and had his hand down my pants," said the victim.

She told the police the struggle lasted for ten minutes, but for her, it was a fight between life and death. She suffered scrapes and bruises on her face, back and legs, and had to get four staples on her head.

"I didn't think I was going to make it, I actually saw myself as a dead body at one point and I snapped. That's when my survival kicked in and whatever I had in me came out," said the victim.

When a witness pulled up in a car, she said Byrd fled the scene. Officers located the suspect with the description the victim provided and she was able to identify him. Byrd appeared in court Saturday on the charges of sexual battery and aggravated battery. His bond was set at $197,003 for aggravated battery, but the judge could not set a bond for the sexual battery charge.

A Naval Station Mayport spokesperson confirms Byrd is also a Navy seaman apprentice. Now, after this experience, the woman said she wants other people to know her story and hopefully prevent this from happening to someone else.

"No matter who says what to me, if I'm skateboarding, I'm going to be skateboarding with a taser in my hand now. I actually already bought one," said the victim.

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