Neighbors on edge after Ocean Springs woman beaten & sexually assaulted

Neighbors on edge after Ocean Springs woman beaten & sexually assaulted

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - New details are emerging on the search for a man who police say severely beat and sexually assaulted a woman at an apartment complex where she worked on Thursday morning.

Police have released photos of a white, late 2000s model SUV they believe was involved in the crime. As patrols are out across the city looking for the vehicle, some people living in complex say they'll be on edge until the suspect is caught.

"Definitely shocking," said Chelsey Travis. "I've been here a little over a year now and nothing like this has ever happened. It worries us. It kind of scares us like what is going to happen next."

It was around 11 a.m.when police said the nightmare began for on Holcomb Boulevard in Ocean Springs. Police say a man the victim did not know approached her from behind, grabbed her around the neck and forced her to the ground.

As officers try to track down the suspect, they urge citizens to pay close attention to their surroundings. If a resident feels someone is making them feel uncomfortable, they should get away and call the police.

"Nothing is worse than having someone do harm to you. This was a pretty bad beating," said Captain William Jackson.

Apartment resident Margaret Ann Walker was out walking her dog on Thursday when she saw the parked SUV police are looking for following the attack.

"I just feel like today we should be unity," said Walker. "We should pull together and watch out for neighbors. Watch out for children, watch out for each other."

Neighbors say until someone is arrested, they won't be sleeping quite as well at night.

Eric Johnson noted, " We've always been good about locking the doors of our cars and the apartment, but it's definitely something we stress now. Just because, you never know."

Ocean Springs Police say the victim is in stable but critical condition at USA Medical Center in Mobile. Neighbors say she is a kind person who is always willing to help tenants with any issues they may have.

Police describe the suspect as a biracial (black and white) man with very short, wavy hair, between 5'10 and 6 feet tall with a slender build.  If you have any information please call Crimestoppers at 1-877-787-5898.

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