MINNEAPOLIS – A woman says she was hit and stabbed as she walked down a wooded path near Minnehaha Falls Saturday night.
Lizzie Villanueva says she comes to the trails near Minnehaha Falls often to clear her mind. It's what she was doing Saturday night when she says a man came from behind and slammed her face into a tree.
She says she was dizzy and then she felt a knife.
"I felt a knife cut my sweatshirt and I was told not to say anything," Lizzie said as she walked KARE 11 back to the scene of the alleged crime.
Lizzie believes the man was attempting to sexually assault her. She says in that moment, it wasn't fear, but anger that made her fight back.
"I wanted to get out of there and I didn't want to be raped. I didn't want to be stabbed anymore. I just wanted to get home," she said.
Lizzie was stabbed twice, once in the hand and once on her right side. She has stiches where the wounds are healing.
She says as she struggled with her attacker, she slipped on some rocks and slid down into the water. It was her chance to escape.
Despite her stab wounds, she ran close to a mile until she reached the Sea Salt restaurant. It was there, she says that she saw three teenage boys skateboarding.
She asked them to take her to the hospital.
"I am so grateful for them," she said.
According to Minneapolis Park Police, the attack on Lizzie is the fourth in the park since August 7th. There have been no arrests. A police spokeswoman says it is not an uncommon number of assaults reported but they have stepped up patrols in the area.
Lizzie says she never got a look at the man who attacked her. She doesn't know if he will ever be caught. But she says, he will never stop her from coming to Minnehaha Falls, a place she has found peace since she was a child.
And she has a message for other women who may find themselves in the same terrifying predicament. "Fight back," she says. "You might get hurt but you can also get away."