Neighbors Shocked by News of Assault - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/05/05

Neighbors Shocked by News of Assault

Talahi Island Talahi Island

Etta Dickey, 82, is still in very bad shape after someone attacked her in her Talahi Island home. Police do have a suspect, but they aren't saying anything more than that right now.

They want to make sure they get the goods on this guy. Beating an elderly woman almost to death isn't something they take lightly.

Neither do neighbors. "We are shocked, saddened, disappointed and frightened," said Judy Collins.

Today it was all people in this tranquil neighborhood were talking about. "We're mailbox neighbors, walking dog neighbors," said Collins, who has lived across the street from Dickey for 19 years.

"Her husband passed away three, four months ago," Collins told us. "So she was alone, but had kids that kept up with her and made contact with her."

That contact is how police found out that someone had attacked Dickey. "Grandchildren found her when they hadn't heard from her," said Capt. Bob Merriman with SCMPD.

Neighbors say whoever attacked her beat her in the head with a commemorative brick that belonged to her late husband. Police won't comment about any other injuries she may have.

"We have forensic people in the residence, they collected a lot of evidence and they're submitting it to the crime lab at this point," said Capt. Merriman.

Police say Dickey was attacked last Tuesday, but no one knew until last Friday. "She's still in a coma, on a respirator," said Collins. "We're just praying."

And praying police charge the man responsible. "This shouldn't happen on our street," said Collins. "Sheriff Al St. Lawrence is our neighbor on our street and we have wonderful police coverage. But it doesn't matter, you have to know who you neighbor is and we have to watch for each other. They can't patrol us 24 hours a day."

Neighbors say they didn't notice anyone out of place on Talahi Island lately. The only one they've seen at Dickey's home other than her family is a man working on her dock.

Sheriff St. Lawrence too was shocked and saddened by the news and has some advice for his neighbors. "You live in a day and time where those kind of things happen," he said. "That's why you tell people to be cautious and if you don't have a reason to keep your door open, keep them locked."

He's says that's something everyone should do, no matter what neighborhood they live in.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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