Marissa Young, a 44-year-old woman from Torrance, California, was walking her dogs around her community at about 1 a.m. in the morning on July 31 of 2022. Then, a peaceful night with the dogs turned into a living hell when she was attacked by Darrell Waters, a 46-year-old criminal who had been arrested and then released mere hours before he brutally assaulted her.
Waters, a homeless man, was released 12 hours before brutally assaulting Young. Describing the assault, Young said, “I certainly wasn’t looking at my phone, inebriated, I didn’t have any headphones in or anything when he came up behind me. He was just that quiet.”
He then proceeded to viciously assault her for nearly half of an hour, sexually assaulting her while beating her so badly that she lost teeth and a broken nose, eye socket, and jaw. Describing the attack, she said, “This person punched me in the face, closed-fisted, 15 to 20 times at least. My nose is broken in four different places and this bone was shattered here [she points to her upper cheek area]. You can still see a lot of swelling in my face.”
Despite the viciousness and length of the assault, Young finally managed to fight Waters off and he ran away. Describing that, she said, “Probably three-quarters of the attack I fought back, cause I was fighting for my life. It was a crime of opportunity, because I’m of small stature and my back was to him.”
Waters, black, was later arrested about two miles from the attack following Young’s police report. She shared her story in the hope that it would encourage other women to remain alert to threats around them so that they could avoid suffering the same sort of hellish assault that she went through. CBS, reporting on that, said:
While she’s telling her story in hopes of making other women more alert, she said it’s much more difficult than that, because of the widespread fear it can cause.
“It’s a difficult thing to discuss, cause I don’t want to warn women necessarily, because we have to be able to go out and do things like walk our dogs.”
Expressing horror over the fact that Waters was released just hours before he assaulted her for illegally carrying a dagger, Young said, “It’s horrifying to think that they were holding this guy with a huge knife that was taken off him that’s illegal and he was let go the next day even though he has a record.”
A GoFundMe was created after the assault to help Young pay the unexpected medical bills stemming from the assault. It said, originally:
Today’s update is a bit of a mixed bag, so I will start with the GOOD NEWS. Marissa is scheduled to move February 20th and is beginning her accelerated BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program on May 8th. At this time she is strongly considering going into nursing in a Sex Crime setting in order to advocate for, help, and care for other survivors. Given her personal experience along with her previous BA in Psychology, I believe she could be of great help in comforting others experiencing what she experienced.
In other news, the mental competency of Marissa’s attacker has been called into question and legal proceedings are at a standstill until he is able to achieve competence. At this time the next scheduled hearing is in January of 2024. If there are changes prior to that date, we will provide an update as to the legal proceedings.
Lastly, for those of you who may not be aware, Marissa’s sister, Melanie Cortes-Pascua, passed away on Friday, January 20th, after a sudden illness and subsequent organ failure. Although Melanie and Marissa were not close in age, they were strongly bonded. Melanie was Marissa’s constant companion in the months following her attack. Melanie dropped everything, moved in with Marissa and was with her around the clock in the earliest period of her recovery. This loss was unexpected and has been tough on the whole family. Especially Melanie’s 5 children: Shane, Mia, Kara, Jessie, and Gabriel.
Once again, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for everyone who has donated, shared Marissa’s story, and supported her through this difficult time.
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