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Woman attacked near Elkhart hospital speaks out

ELKHART, Ind. --- The woman attacked Wednesday evening near Elkhart General Hospital said she believes the attack was a hate crime.

Ruth Escoto suffered many injuries to her arms, abdomen, and head – requiring stitches and staples – due to an attack last week.

Escoto said she was exercising near the hospital after her shift at around 6:30 p.m. She said she had seen the man from across the street when she started and said he was kneeling down in the grass.

“He said ‘Ma’am,’” Escoto said. “He said can you help me.”

Escoto said she asked him what was wrong and then she said he jumped on her.

“He jumped from when he was kneeling and he grabbed my shirt,” Escoto said. “He stepped on my leg and then I was trying to protect my face that’s when he started cutting me on my abdomen.

She said she wasn’t sure if he was using a knife to cut her, but she said he was screaming racial slurs and other expletives while attacking her.

“’Go back to your country,’ ‘stop speaking Spanish, this is America,’” she said.

Elkhart Police said the case remains under investigation, and said it was not indicated in a report that Escoto was told to go back to her country.

Escoto has lived in the Elkhart-Mishawaka area for 20 years, she currently works as a Spanish translator at the hospital.

She said she did fight back, kicking him a couple of times, but what got him off of her were the hospitals surveillance cameras.

“I told him, I said, ‘Look, there are cameras right there on that corner,’” Escoto said. “I said, ‘They’re seeing you, they’re going to come and get you, they’re going to get you for this’.”

It was reported to ABC 57 News that Escoto’s attacker stole her wallet. She said he stole a silver ring off her finger, a phone case that had $20 in it, and cut the headphones she was using during her workout.

“All that was going through my mind is my kids, if I was going to be able to see them again,” Escoto said.

The man is described as a tall, white male with a medium building who was wearing a green or gray shirt. Escoto said he did not look familiar at all, and that this is something she’s never experienced before, but is determined to send this message to her attacker: hate cannot win.

“He tried to break me but he didn’t,” she said.

If you have any information in this case, contact Elkhart Police Department.

 

 

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