Suspect remains at large after attempted sexual assault in Bluffton

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a disturbance at Bluestone Apartments located on Bluffton Parkway in Bluffton at approximately 12 a.m. Saturday morning. When they arrived, they found a woman in an apartment screaming for help.

The woman was walking her dog when an African-American male approached her and began punching her in the face. The unknown male suspect then pushed her to the ground and began to rip her clothes off. The man told the woman his intention was to sexually assault her. The woman's dog became aggressive toward the man, forcing the suspect to run off in an unknown direction. The woman was visibly upset and sustained physical injuries during the assault.

The attempted sexual assault is believed to have occurred near the access road behind the apartments.

The woman was transported to a local hospital by Emergency Medical Services where she was later released. The suspect is in his thirties and was wearing a black or dark hooded sweatshirt with latex, medical, or food service gloves.  He has a crooked nose, which could be from a prior broken nose, and is missing an upper front tooth. He smelled of cigarettes and alcohol and was described by the victim as having a speech impediment, possibly a lisp. She noticed he had problems pronouncing words that contained the letter "s." Other descriptions about the subject will be released as soon as they become available.

Brandon Myers, a resident at Bluestone apartments, is concerned about the sexual assault.

"That threat is always there whether it be my mother or anyone else," Myers said. "It is worrisome to have someone in that area and know something like that happened to them."

The Sheriff's Office investigators are currently obtaining details and are asking for information from the public. Anyone that may have seen something in the area of Bluestone Apartments at around midnight last night or having information on the unknown subject's identity is urged to call Sheriff's Office Emergency Dispatch 9-1-1 or Sergeant Seth Reynells 843-255-3709. Those wishing to remain anonymous and to be considered for a reward can provide their information to CrimeStoppers 1-888-CrimeSC.

The Sheriff's Office would like to encourage residents of Bluestone Apartments and nearby areas to remain vigilant while investigators attempt to identify this subject.  It's also important to remain in well-lit areas or walk with a group while walking outside at night. Report suspicious activity immediately to Emergency Dispatch 9-1-1.

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