By Mayra Cuevas-Nazario
For nearly 20 years Jennifer Schuett has held onto every memory of the night she was abducted from her bedroom, raped and left for dead.
Investigators were never able to identify a suspect, but new DNA testing may change that.
CNN normally does not identify victims of sexual assaults. But Schuett wants to go public with her story– and her name– to increase the chances of finding and prosecuting her attacker.
“It’s not about me anymore,” she explained. “It’s about all the little girls that go to sleep at night. I know there are so many girls out there who have been raped and hurt. You have to fight back.”
For that, Schuett, 27, is relying on her voice, her memory and advances in DNA testing.
“I remember everything; I’ve always wanted to remember everything, so I can find the person that did this,” Schuett told CNN during a phone interview. “If I had blocked this out of my memory, the investigation wouldn’t have come this far. I’m a fighter.”
Schuett says she was alone in her bed when a man came creeping in through the window. She remembers waking up in a stranger’s arms as he carried her across a dark parking lot.
“When I opened my eyes, his face was the first thing I saw and he covered my face and mouth,” she said. “He ran with me to his car. He told me he was an undercover cop and that he knew my family. He seemed calm — not nervous, not aggressive.”
After they left the parking lot, he drove her through the streets of Dickinson, Texas, pulling into a mechanic shop next to her elementary school.
“Watch the moon. The moon will change colors and that is when your mom will come to get you,” she recalled him saying. “Oh, it looks like she is not coming.”
Schuett said he drove her to an overgrown field next to the school and raped her.
“He had a knife to my throat and touched my face and offered me Reese’s pieces,” she said. “I was scared but I knew I couldn’t be fast enough to get away. Cars would drive by but I couldn’t get away to get help.”