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Norfolk woman recalls terrifying attack during walk home

In World
April 25, 2024

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A short walk home from work has turned into a long nightmare for a Norfolk woman after she was violently attacked last week.

The attack itself happened on Colley Avenue at Redgate Avenue in Ghent, a place where a lot of medical professionals have to go from the hospitals to their cars.

Madelyn Startt was walking home from work on Colley Avenue around 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.

Hearing footsteps that sounded too close behind her, she noticed a man walking a little too close for comfort and turned and started to walk through the crosswalk towards Redgate Avenue.

The next thing she knew, she was being forced to the ground in the middle of the road.

“He grabbed me from behind with his arm, put his arm around my neck and then he pushed me to the ground,” Startt said.

Startt was stunned and said she went into survival mode as she felt the man’s hands attempt to close around her neck.

“I was just screaming,” Startt said. “Someone was going to hear me. I was scared he had a weapon. That was my biggest fear. ‘Oh my God, what if he stabs me right now or has a gun.’”

A swift kick to the chest knocked the man backwards and gave Startt enough leeway to escape and run towards her apartment building. She believes the attack was sexually charged.

“I thought he was trying to rob me initially because I had a backpack on,” Startt said.

She said the man started to follow her toward her apartment, but then ran off.

“Noticing how many people were around, I think he got spooked and then just ran as fast as he could in a different direction,” Startt said.

The attack has shaken Startt, who no longer walks the few blocks to her job and opts to take her car.

“It’s just a very uneasy feeling that potentially someone is out here lurking trying to target women,” Startt said.

Startt couldn’t get a good look at the assailant’s face but said he had a sweatshirt on with the hood up and was about 5-foot-8.

“I have to tell everybody about this because I see people walking all the time by themselves, women specifically, walking their dogs, walking, getting off work because the hospital is right here,” Startt said. “I just don’t want that to happen to anyone else.”

A report has been filed with Norfolk Police, who told 10 On Your Side they’re looking into the assault and ask anyone with information to contact them.

If you have any information about this case, you can submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, downloading the P3 tips app to a mobile device, or visiting www.P3tips.com and submitting a tip.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WAVY.com.

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