A 17-year-old girl was found in the woods “screaming and hollering for help” in Dundee, Florida last week by a group of people who were nearby. A woman in the group called 911 and the girl was brought to a local hospital.
According to Fox 13, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told the media during a press conference that the teen had been brutally abused by strangers for the last several months.
Judd explained the situation in detail:
“They discovered this young lady who was absolutely frightening to look at. She had been beaten, she had these huge, open, gapping wounds on the top of her feat. She had a broken shoulder and a stab wound in her other shoulder. She was 86 pounds and her hair was falling out.”
To make matters worse, the teen told the authorities that she hadn’t been allowed to shower or use the restroom since last March, and that she was only occasionally given a Pop Tart to eat by her alleged abusers.
As Fox 13 reports, the 17-year-old — who had not yet been identified to the public — was beaten with a metal pipe, stabbed with a pocket knife, kicked with metal studded boots, and hit with a television cable.
Michael Hickin, one of the men who found the teen in the woods, tells WFLAthat she was tangled up in the brush in the woods across from his house:
“She said, Can you help me?’ Over and over, ‘Can you help me?’ I thought it was a joke at first.
She was tangled up in the brush. She was like, ‘I’m trapped in the woods. My shoulder is broke,’ and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m going to run and get my mom,’ and she called the sheriff’s office.”
Judd told the authorities that the girl would not have lived much longer had she not attempted to “run for her life” when she did:
“She ran through the woods for a mile to stay alive and it was unbelievable. It has shaken our most experienced detectives to the soul. To say we are shocked is an understatement, to say we are outraged is an understatement. But you know what, she saved her own life that day.”
Two adults, 33-year-old Melissa Peters and 45-year-old Kris Peters, have since been arrested and charged for the abuse and are being held without bond. It has not yet been revealed how Melissa and Kris know the teen.
Judd said during the press conference that both Melissa and Kris “deserve to be in prison for the rest of their lives.”
A 15-year-old boy was also found in the home where the teen was abused, but had not suffered the same abuse.
Since being admitted to a local hospital, the teen is expected to undergo several surgeries on her shoulder and feet. She has already gained almost 11 pounds after only a week of recovery.
Michael Hickin is thankful that being at the right place at the right time allowed him to help save this teen.
“We definitely were there for a reason,” he says.