HARRIS COUNTY -- The man who help save a teenager who was brutally attacked near a local high school says he is haunted by what he saw.
The 16-year-old girl escaped her attacker Tuesday night by pretending to be dead.
Joseph Grass says he was on a date at a Cinemark in northwest Harris County when he saw the teenage girl who had walked a half mile after being sexually assaulted.
The attacker is still out there.
“I think God puts us in specific places for reasons,” said Grass.
The image of what he saw in the parking lot is engrained in his memory.
“It looked like she was wearing a red dress; she was bleeding badly from her head,” he said. “We were just trying to make sure the bleeding was slowing down because she was really in bad shape.”
Grass wanted to conceal his face as he recalled Tuesday night’s encounter.
In front of Grass and his girlfriend stood a 16-year-old girl who was not wearing any clothes and begging for help.
“She was so disoriented. She kept saying ‘I need help. I need help. I need help.’ She kept saying it over and over again,” Grass said.
The Cypress Woods High School student had been walking along Spring Cypress Road when a man knocked her to the ground.
Investigators say he dragged her into a nearby wooded area where he raped her and attacked her with a weapon similar to a hatchet.
“It coughs up a visceral reaction to the pit of my stomach to think that someone could do this to anybody, but just a young girl like that with such violence and hatred -- I don’t understand it.”
Grass says his first instinct was to dial 911. Then, he and his girlfriend kept the teenager conscious until paramedics arrived.
As they helped the girl, one woman believes she might’ve seen the attacker at a nearby Randalls grocery store.
“His knuckles were bloody. Not overly bloody, but you could tell he’d been in a scuffle,” said Michelle, a Crime Stoppers caller. “The cashier pointed it out. I think he’s hiding out I don’t know what his deal is.”
Michelle says she called Crime Stoppers after putting two and two together.
“This is sad and scary and we really need to stick together in this community and take care of each other,” said Michelle.
While their hearts go out to the girl who was viciously attacked during an evening walk, they’re also thinking about the man who could strike again.
“I would not be empathetic if the worst of the worst happened to him,” said Grass. “If they catch him, I don’t think he deserves to rot in jail; I think he deserves far worse than that.”
The teen was attacked near Cy Woods High School.. The Cy-Fair School District says they’ve beefed up security at that school and at a neighboring junior high school.
At last check, the 16-year-old victim was listed in critical, but stable condition.