How this little girl survived what she went through I will never know but I would consider it as a miracle that she is alive today. 18 years ago, Jennifer Schuett who was 8 years old at the time, was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and left for dead with her throat slashed. She was found in a grassy field clinging to life.

In going over the details of what authorities know Jennifer was taken from her bedroom through an open window while she was sleeping on August 10, 1990. Originally it was thought that she woke up and left the apartment on her own but they later discovered that she didn’t. Her mother reported her missing at 7:45 that morning.

Tim Cromie, a Dickinson police investigator, said they learned that a man, described as white and maybe in his 20’s or 30’s reached in the window and snatched her from her bed. Jennifer said he told her he was an undercover police officer and he rushed her to his car which possibly could have been a Buick. He then drove her to an elementary parking lot and then to a vacant field in the 2100 block of California Avenue where he used a knife to slice her throat. That is where he left her to die.

She laid there nearly 11 hours before some children playing in the field found her. The grass had grown pretty high which hid her body a bit. Her clothes had been removed and her throat cut but more importantly she was still alive. I am sure who ever did this wasn’t counting on her living through this.

They took her to the University of Texas Branch in Galveston by a medical helicopter where she has made a complete recovery. FBI Special Agent Richard Rennison said Jennifer’s throat was no small slash either. “How she survived is unbelievable, looking at the pictures from the hospital,” Rennison said. “The wound was deep and all the way across. It just wasn’t her time.”

Tim Cromie is working with the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Development Team on the case. They have selected Jennifer’s case ad one of five nationwide crimes against children that they will try to solve this year.

Jennifer, who is 26 now, wants to focus on the case going forward. “I’ve talked to her several times, and she doesn’t want this to be a survivor story,” Cromie said. “She wants to focus on solving the case. She’s an amazing young lady. To meet her for the first time you’d never know she was a victim.”

Dickinson police have resubmitted evidence from the case for additional processing using newer advancements in technology that didn’t exist in 1990. The Galveston County Sheriff’s office has kept all the evidence in the case including what they believe to be a piece of clothing the man was wearing when he took her from her bedroom.

Rennison said that DNA forensic investigation was in it’s infancy back in 1990. “We would have needed a large quantity of blood or semen. Unlike today, we get it with just a drop,” said Rennison.

Rennison said they have sent the evidence to FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va. If the suspect has been incarcerated, it is possible that his DNA profile could be matched within the law enforcement DNA database. The tests could identify the suspect, which is expected to be completed within 8 to 10 months.

Jan Barrett

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