Woman says she was attacked by autistic neighbor - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Woman says she was attacked by autistic neighbor

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ESCONDIDO (CBS 8) - An Escondido mother who was the victim of an attempted rape is speaking out. She says she was attacked by her autistic neighbor and can't understand why an arrest hasn't been made.

Sarah Noland was asleep in bed just after 1 a.m. when she awoke to a man pinning her down with a weapon cutting into her neck.

"I remember thinking in my head a dream, 'Oh my God, this is my worst nightmare, this is going to happen,'" she said.

With the intruder pulling at her pants, Noland started to scream. Sarah says her attacker wasn't wearing a shirt and because the room was pitch black, he used a cell phone to illuminate her face.

Noland fought back and chased the man away. When deputies arrived, a police dog led them to a 23-year-old autistic man next door. They asked him why he thought they were there.

"He said 'It's about the rape next door" and that was the first clue. Oh, okay, how did you know that?" Noland said.

Noland says investigators collected fingerprints and blood, and even though she says the man admitted he knew the back door to her house was left open, she thinks he's getting a break because he's autistic.

"Definitely, because from the beginning that's what they said, they don't know what they can do because of his mental state," Noland said.

We are not going to identify the man Noland says attacked her, but we do want to point out he lives right next door to her -- 20 feet away. It's so close, she doesn't feel safe living in her own home, so she and her two kids are displaced.

Noland says recent phone calls to the sheriff's department haven't been returned.

"It feels like they just brushed it under the rug and they don't care what happened to me or what he can do again," she said.

The attack happened across the street from an elementary school, and in light of the Chelsea King and Amber Dubois murders, neighbors are on edge.

"I would just like to see something done," she said.

Crystal Pearce is a mother of three who fears another attack.

"It could be worse, unfortunately. It could be a lot worse," Pearce said.

Growing frustrated, Noland called a district attorney liaison who offered an explanation.

"One of the (liaisons) said a couple of times budget cuts, that's why it's taking so long," Noland said.

The sheriff's department sent News 8 this statement:

"We understand the victim's concern in this case. The investigators are doing all they can to solve this crime. We won't close the case until it is solved."

The detective on the case also told us the evidence collected so far is inconclusive and not strong enough to file a case.

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