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Jennifer Schuett - Printable Version

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Jennifer Schuett - jameson245 - 10-18-2017

Afraid of the Dark
"48 Hours" Live to Tell: Kidnapped from her own bed at age 8, strangled and dumped in a field to die -- the real-life story of a survivor and her lifelong journey to find her attacker
  • 2017Mar 11
Produced by Stephen A.McCain, Marcelena Spencer, Mead Stone and Gary Winter
Many children who are abducted don’t live to tell their stories. Jennifer’s Schuett’s attacker tried to silence her, but she refused to let him. Jennifer is sharing her story in the hope of inspiring other women and girls to use their voices.
JENNIFER SCHUETT: The attack was always in the back of my head.
The scars that I have on my body … represent a time in my life when I was scared and left helpless. But they also represent survival… You may be left with scars, but you can blossom into something powerful.
It’s really been a lifelong journey of … finding who did this to me.
27 YEARS EARLIER | DICKINSON, TEXAS
The summer of 1990, I just finished the second grade. 
I just loved life. I loved school. I loved learning.
[Image: ltt-schuett-elementary.jpg]
Jennifer Schuett

But … as far as I can remember back in my childhood, I just didn’t like the dark or sleeping alone. …So I found comfort in going to bed with my mom.  We were all that we had, was each other.
AUGUST 9, 1990
That night, I was very restless … and my mom turned to me and said, “You’re kicking me in your sleep and I have to work in the morning.  Would you mind going into your own room tonight?” … And I turned and I said, “Just because I love you, Mom, I’m going to sleep in my own room tonight.” 
So I left my mother’s room, went into mine, and I had a big lamp that was shaped like a light bulb.  And I remember clicking it on and it lit the whole room up.  That was the brightest lamp ever (laughs).  …And I got some books and just read until I fell asleep.
The next thing I remember was waking up in the arms of a man that I didn’t know. …He was running with me, carrying me down the sidewalk. …And I immediately tried to scream but he covered my nose and mouth.
He had me sitting on his lap as he was driving … and held me there. … He’s trying to calm me down, telling me, “Everything’s gonna be OK. I’m an undercover police officer.”
As a child, I wanted to believe him.  But … the part of me that had just learned about strangers in school, the part of me that was scared of the dark … knew that there was something really wrong here.
As we were driving … I started to realize that I had actually been kidnapped.
I was very afraid of what would happen next.
He pulled into the parking lot of my elementary school.
He told me to watch the moon. And when the moon changed colors my mother would be pulling in the parking lot to pick me up.  I remember anxiously waiting for those headlights. ...But they never came.
“I think that at that point he was trying to psych himself up for what he really intended to do. …I remember him saying, “Well, your mom’s not coming,” and starting up the car. …And we went … just a few blocks away. It was a … dead-end gravel road. 
And he pulled off … in an overgrown field. 
What went through my mind was sheer panic.
Then he held a knife to my throat and said, “Am I scaring you little girl? Am I scaring you?” 
And then … he choked me as hard as he could … And then he tried to break my neck.
I blacked out for a while.
I woke up to him dragging me by my ankles … through this field… And he … dropped my legs.  I heard him walk off, and I heard his car door slam and him drive away.  
I realized I couldn’t scream … and I couldn’t figure out why. …I had just enough strength to throw my right hand on top of my neck.  And that’s when I felt this gaping wound.  And I looked … at my hand and it was full of blood.
I was 8 years old. I was just left to die in a field.