Victim Scrawls Rapist's Name in Blood : Left to Die Beneath Her Burning Home, Denver Woman Escapes

From Associated Press

Blindfolded, bleeding and trapped in the basement crawl space of her burning home, a rape victim scrawled her attacker's name in blood with bound hands and then made a desperate escape, authorities said today.

"Donnie next door," she scratched on the wall Wednesday, minutes after she was raped, robbed, slashed and beaten, police said.

Her home had been set on fire and she had been left to die in the crawl space sealed shut with furniture, police said.

The 30-year-old woman was reported in fair condition today at Denver General Hospital.

Her head throbbing from a hammer beating and her hand bleeding from a knife wound, she had managed to kick her way out of the crawl space and break her basement window with the knife with which she was stabbed, police said.

Half-nude, blood-caked and clutching the foot-long knife, the woman scaled a 6-foot fence in her back yard and ran through her neighborhood screaming for help.

Police said terrified neighbors, unsure whether she was running from trouble or looking for it, shut their doors.

But after hearing the woman's weak moans, one neighbor did phone police.

As paramedics treated the woman moments later, the neighbor saw smoke flowing from her clapboard-and-brick house. A fire truck was summoned, and firefighters quickly doused the blaze.

Police were searching for the suspect, identified as Donnie E. Russell, 18. The teen-ager, whom the victim has known for two years, allegedly got into her house about 10 a.m. by asking to use her telephone, police said.

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