Arrest made after DeLand woman dragged into woods, sexually assaulted



DELAND, Fla. - Authorities arrested a man they said dragged a woman into some woods near DeLand and sexually assaulted her.

The attack was reported shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday near Wade Street and Rosewood Avenue, deputies said.

The 31-year-old woman said she was walking home from a friend's house when the man approached her and talked to her before grabbing her and dragging her into the woods. The victim said the man then punched her in the face several times and sexually assaulted her.

Authorities said the victim managed to escape her attacker, run to the nearest street and flag down a passing motorist, who drove her to her house.

"I just ran to his vehicle. I had no clothes on except for the blue shirt he took and ripped off," the victim said.

On Monday, police arrested Yovani Cruz-Torrez, 23, in connection with the crime.

Police said Cruz-Torrez was already in custody on a charge of resisting an officer after he repeatedly attempted to walk away and pull away Sunday night from a deputy who had detained him for questioning.

The victim identified Cruz-Torrez in a police photo lineup as the one who sexually assaulted her.

Cruz-Torrez was booked into the Volusia County Jail on sexual battery, aggravated battery and resisting arrest charges. He is also facing additional charges after officers at the Volusia County Jail found a small bag of marijuana in his underwear during a pat-down, police said.

The victim told Channel 9 she thought she was going to die before she escaped.

"There's a lot I'd like to say, but I'm a child of God, and God, I pray for you," said the victim.

The woman was later taken to Florida Hospital DeLand for treatment of her injuries.

The victim's left eye was swollen shut, and she said she may have broken some facial bones, authorities said.

The victim had strong words for women who walk alone.

"I want people to know it's real. It's really out here. There's sick people out here. Don't think that it can't happen to you," the victim said.