KEY POINTS

  • The suspect pushed the victim into the bathroom stall before assaulting her
  • She suffered severe injuries, including a fracture to her skull
  • Though the accused tried to flee, the victim's husband stopped him

In a shocking incident, a woman vacationing with her husband and child in South Mississippi was allegedly raped and physically assaulted inside a bathroom stall at a mall.

According to investigators, the suspect tried to flee with the victim's purse after committing the act but was apprehended by the woman's husband and others before being handed over to the police.

The incident happened Monday evening. The accused, identified as 28-year-old Andrew Malik Jones, was waiting inside the restroom at Gulfport Premium outlets when the unsuspecting woman walked in around 6.43 p.m., the police said as per WBTV

According to the victim, Jones pushed her into the stall before physically assaulting and raping her. He then tried to flee the scene after stealing her purse. The suspect tried to escape by running through the parking lot toward Interstate 10 but was stopped by the victim's husband and other people. They held him until the police arrived. 

The woman's husband told WLOX the victim had suffered serious physical injuries in the assault, including a fracture to her skull. She was moved to a New Orleans hospital to undergo treatment.  

The husband and wife, originally from Oklahoma, were visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast with their young child for the holidays.

It is not clear whether Jones works at the mall or why he was there at the time of the incident. He now faces charges of robbery and sexual battery.

Jones is currently being held in the Harrison County Jail and is awaiting his initial appearance. A bond of $500,000 for each charge has been set.

According to the UN Women, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces are an everyday occurrence for women and girls around the world. Several such cases of sexual assault inside public bathrooms have been recorded in the U.S. too. 

In February, a woman was raped at a Center City Macy's store in Philadephia. According to the police, the suspect hid inside a bathroom stall near the one in which the 55-year-old victim had entered for nearly 20 minutes. After she went inside, he jumped over the stall into hers before raping her brutally. After the assault, the suspect fled the store.

Another case was reported in 2019 when an Oklahoma man snuck into a McDonald’s bathroom and raped a 4-year-old girl who was there for a daycare field trip.

woman Representational image. Photo: Pixabay