Child-Rape Victim Brings Her Attacker to Justice—Nineteen Years Later
Jennifer Schuett didn’t want other kids to suffer her horrible ordeal.
On Aug. 20, 1990, Jennifer Schuett was raped in a field in Dickinson, Texas. The man who molested her slit her throat from ear to ear and left her for dead amid a horde of fire ants.
The attack injured her so badly that she can’t have children.
No one was ever arrested. But, Jennifer said in an exclusive interview on The Today Show, she never gave up trying to find the man who came within a heartbeat of killing her. Her search began as she lay in her hospital bed after the attack, giving police a description of her attacker. She told NBC News reporter Jeff Rossen that she was motivated by “thinking of children, adults, anyone that could be getting victimized by him.”
Throughout the following years, Jennifer kept after investigators, prodding them so they wouldn’t let the case go cold. She also appeared on America’s Most Wanted. And then, late last year, police ran a DNA search on a man who had just been arrested for the rape of an Arkansas woman.
The DNA proved to be a match for evidence from the attack on Jennifer, and police arrested Dennis Earl Bradford, 40, a welder from North Little Rock, Arkansas. In a videotaped confession that aired on Today, Bradford confessed to raping and knifing Jennifer. “There is not a day that goes by, not a single day, that I don’t see that baby,” said Bradford.
As Bradford awaited his trial in Texas, Jennifer wrote the victim’s impact statement for her court appearance, according to the Today segment. “You chose the wrong 45-pound, 8-year-old girl to try and murder. Because for nineteen years, I’ve thought of you every single day, and helped search for you.”
Sadly, Jennifer never got the chance to confront Bradford. Earlier this month, her attacker hanged himself in jail.
On her website, www.justiceforjennifer.com, Jennifer said she was “shocked and disappointed” that she would never be able to confront the man who had savaged her.
But, she added, “I will continue to use my voice and advocate for other victims of crime, and ask for you all to please keep me in your prayers.” (The Today Show)