It took nearly 20 years to find Schuett's attacker

By Karen Mizoguchi
March 11, 2017 03:58 PM
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At age 8 in 1990, Jennifer Schuett was kidnapped from her bedroom window by an unknown man who raped her, slashed her throat from ear to ear with a pocket knife, and left for dead in a field near Dickinson, Texas.

The next day, Schuett was found by children playing hide-and-seek in the field. Unable to speak, she scribbled notes to help the police’s investigation to find her attacker.

It wasn’t until over 19 years later, in October 2009, that police located and arrested Dennis Earl Bradford for the kidnapping, rape and attempted murder of Schuett.

Now in 2017, the survivor, 35, is sharing her lifelong journey for justice in an interview with CBS’ 48 Hours Live to Tell: Afraid of the Dark that will air on Saturday.

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“I remember writing down … just every little detail that I could remember, everything that I thought would help in finding him,” Schuett told 48 Hours. “I just remember remembering his name. And so I wrote, ‘He said his name was Dinnese [Dennis].’ ”

In her very-detailed police notes, the 8-year-old wrote everything from what she was wearing to her attacker’s physical appearance and a map showing where he took her.

“He said he was an undercover cop. Big gun. He said I don’t have my gun or badge right now,” young Jennifer wrote in one of her notes, while in another she detailed: “He choked me 4 times as hard as he could yes in the car.”

But in May 2010, Schuett was “robbed” of the possibility to face Bradford, 40, in court after he was found hanged in his jail cell in what evidently was a suicide while awaiting his sentence. At the time, Schuett told the Associated Press that she was “shocked and disappointed” and felt “as though I was robbed of that opportunity” to confront him.

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“I can say that I feel very blessed and grateful that I was able to find out who attacked me all of those years ago, and that he was arrested last year, and taken off of the streets so that he couldn’t harm anyone else,” Schuett wrote on her website.

48 Hours Live to Tell: Afraid of the Dark airs Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.