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Details released of rape victim's brutal injuries

TAMPA — Three days after she was raped at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library, an 18-year-old woman asked a deputy from her hospital bed, "Why me?"

She had been beaten and sexually battered on April 24. She suffered fractures to her forehead and nose and multiple strokes from being choked. She had lost her vision, according to investigative reports released Friday by the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office.

She cried often during an interview with a deputy at Tampa General Hospital on April 27. Weak from the strokes, the young woman had a hard time forming long sentences.

She recalled returning a book to the library and being on the phone.

The deputy asked if she remembered what occurred next.

"No," she said. "What happened to me?"

She also asked, "Why can't I see?"

Authorities say she was attacked by Kendrick Morris, a 16-year-old Clair-Mel teen charged as an adult last month in connection with two rapes — one at the library and another of a 61-year-old woman at a day care near his home last June.

He remains in jail without bail on nine felony charges.

Sheriff's officials already have said they found his fingerprints on a bench outside the library and on a broken, bloody plastic utensil filed down to a sharp edge. They also said they have witnesses and video surveillance footage that place him at the library as late as 10 p.m. and at a nearby McDonald's by 11:10 p.m.

The material released Friday presents the fullest picture so far of what happened to the victim.

Records show she had clocked out of work at 9:50 p.m. She told a friend at 10:05 p.m. that she was headed to the library to return a book.

The friend told her not to go because it was too late at night. But the young woman said she didn't want the book to be anymore overdue.

When she got to the library, she told her friend there was "a weird guy" hanging around. The friend told her to stay in the car.

The young woman asked her friend to remain on the phone with her while she walked her book to the after-hours drop box.

But the drop box door was stuck, the young woman said. Then, the friend heard a scream. It sounded like the young woman's cell dropped to the ground before disconnecting.

The friend tried to call back multiple times. No answer.

Friends and relatives rushed to the library. They found the victim's empty car parked by the drop box, the driver's side door open and the lights and radio on. They found her lying half-naked behind the library, the contents of her purse strewn around and blood on the ground.

She was unconscious and gasping for air.

Authorities think she was attacked near her car, then beaten and raped behind the library. They found a girl's sandal in the mulch in front of the library and blood by the driver's door, on the sidewalk and on a no parking sign. They found her underwear twisted on a stick near her body and her wallet hanging in a tree.

After the attack, authorities said the young woman was in critical condition. Her family has declined to speak with the St. Petersburg Times.

In an interview this week with Tampa Tribune columnist Steve Otto, the victim's mother said her daughter has been in an induced coma for weeks and doctors may not know the extent of the damage for months. It is unclear whether the young woman permanently lost her sight.

Attorneys for Morris and his mother did not return calls for comment on Friday.

The new documents also shed light on a rape Morris is charged with committing June 28 at the Children's Lighthouse Day Care Center in the Clair-Mel area.

A woman told investigators it happened about 5:30 a.m. when a man with a silver-colored knife came in behind her, ordered her to the floor and asked for money. She said she had none.

He told her to get up, but then had to help her up because of her arthritis. He made her lie back down and remove her clothes and then raped her.

A co-worker arrived at the school a few minutes later and saw a shadow inside. She saw a light-skinned black male wearing gloves and a mask.

The victim ran to the teachers' bathroom, locked herself in and began yelling and banging on the wall to attract attention.

Deputies later found the woman naked in the driveway. The attacker had fled, but they were able to collect his DNA from the victim.

Times staff writer Dong-Phuong Nguyen contributed to this report.

Details released of rape victim's brutal injuries 06/06/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2008 3:11pm]
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