Ontario woman violently attacked before charity run at Disneyland
Published Sunday, January 19, 2014 6:11PM EST
It's supposed to be 'the happiest place on Earth' but for one Ontario woman, a trip to Disneyland turned into a nightmare after a vicious attack left her with serious injuries and more than a dozen stitches.
Katherine Newman from Brampton, Ont., was visiting California this past week to take part in the annual 'Disney Tinker Bell Run' Newman and her team, ‘Autism Speaks’, had raised more than $2,000 leading up to the race.
After spending a day at the amusement park on Thursday, Newman walked back to her Anaheim motel with her friend Crystal Wyley at approximately 7:45 p.m. local time, when a man, who was pretending to open the room next door, violently pushed both women from behind.
"Just as I saw him reach into his pocket as Crystal got the door open, he came up behind us and pushed us and said get in," Newman told CTV Toronto.
At that point, Newman said she turned around and started punching the man.
"I was hitting him with the side of my hand. I just kept pounding and pounding and shoving him back and yelling him to 'get out, get out,'" she said.
Newman said she was then hit on the head, causing her to bleed.
"I put my head down and kept pushing. All of a sudden, I felt a smash on my head."
But the injury did not stop Newman from attempting to stop the assailant, who was trying to drag her friend into the room.
"I think at this point he's trying to eliminate me to grab her, and I just lunged forward and I said, 'No Crystal,' and grabbed her and just kept pounding and he came down with a knife," said Newman, who was also slashed on the arms.
Wyley's screams during the attack alerted people upstairs who then called the police.
After a brief struggle, the attacker eventually ran away.
The women were rushed to a California hospital where they were both treated for serious injuries. Newman received two dozen stitches and staples in her head; and four more staples where the attacker had slashed her arm.
Newman, however, says she did not notice her injuries until later.
"It was just survival," she said, adding that during the attack, she thought to herself, "'We have to get through this, we have to keep him off until someone notices because if he gets into this room and closes that door, we're done.'"
On Saturday evening, police arrested a male suspect who they believe may be connected to the attack, along with assaults on at least three other women in the area that day.
On the night of the attack, a woman reported being assaulted by a man while out on a walk. Hours later, two other women said they were stabbed in their home by a burglar carrying a knife.
Police analyzed surveillance video taken from a convenience store located near Newman’s motel and have taken the man into custody. They have not released his identity.
As a result of the attack, Newman was unable to participate in the charity run on Friday.
After hearing news of the assault, Disney officials gave Newman and her friend a free room at the Disney resort hotel, a private escort around the park and race medals.
Newman returned to Brampton on Saturday evening and is recuperating from her injuries at home.