A neighbor and friend to an elderly ArkLaTex woman that was brutally attacked by three men Tuesday night is speaking out.
Police say it happened shortly before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the 1400 block of Regina Street in Mansfield, Louisiana. The victim's neighbor, Mary Jo Sallis say it could have been much worse. "It's a wonder they hadn't killed her, you know, because she could identify 'em," says Sallis.
Sallis says the victim is her longtime neighbor and friend of half a century. Sallis says she checked on her friend at the hospital. "She's putting on a good front now, you know. But, she told the daughter she didn't think she would ever be able to spend the night in the house by herself anymore."
Sallis says her 76-year-old friend had just returned from First Baptist Church in Mansfield after cooking for a Lions Club banquet that night.
Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs says, "The elderly lady had come home and she was transporting items from her vehicle inside the residence. She had made several trips in and out."
Hobbs says that's when 18-year-olds Ladandrick Jones and Michael Campbell along with 19-year-old Emmanuel Bogan grabbed the victim in her carport. "They physically restrained her, drug her into the residence and that's where the physical assault and ultimately the sexual assault took place," says Hobbs.
Mary Jo Sallis says she believes it could have just as easily been her attacked instead of her neighbor. "Well sure! That's what scares me so. I went out while it was, just before or while it was happening, I went out on the carport," says Sallis.
The only difference for Sallis: Her husband was watching and waiting for her. "And, 'course, wasn't anything my husband could have done. Now, he was standing at the door, but it was nothing; they would have probably killed him," concludes Sallis.
The three men now face serious charges in that home invasion including robbery and rape. With the three suspects now locked up, each on $1.55 million bond, there is an uneasy peace that has settled back on the community of Mansfield knowing that these three men will not get out until the legal system determines their innocence or guilt. Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs says the three suspects are cooperating with the investigation, but would not elaborate whether that might include full confessions to the attack.