Nation's Oldest Park Ranger, 94, Robbed and Beaten in Her California Home
Betty Reid Soskin, the nation’s oldest park ranger, was beaten and robbed in her home early this week and police are asking for help from the community in catching the assailant.
The 94-year-old – a ranger at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park – was attacked in her Richmond, California home on Monday around midnight, at which time Soskin awoke to find a man standing over her with a flashlight, she told KTVU-TV.
Soskin attempted to call for help on her cellphone, but the intruder took the phone, forcing a struggle between the pair, during which Soskin screamed while the attacker dragged her through the home, before hitting her multiple times, the network reports.
“I fully expected he was going to kill me. He double up his fist and hit me a couple of times on the sides of my face with all his might,” Soskin told KTVU. “I don’t even like to look at myself in the mirror at this point because I still have a couple black eyes and one is still marked. My lips were split in a couple of places.”
Despite being beaten and bruised Soskin was reportedly able to get herself to a bathroom, where she locked herself inside until the man left the home. According to KTVU, while in the bathroom, Soskin armed herself with a hot iron in case the suspect came back for her.
After leaving the bathroom, Soskin realized that some of her belongings were missing, including a coin marked with the presidential seal that was given to her by President Obama at the national tree-lighting ceremony in December, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Although the experience was traumatic, Soskin refuses to move away from her home because of what happened, and has already considered forgiveness on one condition.
“This is my space and it was invaded and I need to reclaim it so I’m going to stay here,” she told KTVU. “If I can get that coin back I think I can forgive anything.”
Meanwhile, officers have warned the community to keep their eyes peeled for the coin, as it’s quite distinguishable.
Soskin may have been the one directly affected by the attack, but Richmond Mayor Tom Butt took to Facebook, sharing that the incident angered and saddened him.
“Park Ranger Betty Soskin is arguably Richmond’s most famous resident, and an assault on her is an assault on us all,” he wrote.