Artists renderings of the suspects submitted by SMPD
COLD CASE: 2013 sexual assualt remains unsolved
Every 98 seconds someone in America is sexually assaulted. Such was the case for a San Marcos woman in 2013. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.
It was a cloudy November day when Brianna Underwood, and her 4-year-old son, headed out to run errands. Driving near the area of Cheatham and McKie streets, while stopped at a stop sign, her vehicle was struck from behind. Instinctively, Underwood got out of the car to assess the damage when the unthinkable happened.
It was the middle of the day, 11:30 a.m., and by all accounts what was to fear? Underwood was surveying the damage when the driver approached her. A second man got out of the truck and before she knew what was happening, both men pushed her inside her vehicle and covered her head.
A short while later the group drove to what was described as a garage or workshop. Over the next few hours, three men sexually assaulted Underwood. During the violence that ensued she was beaten and strangled so severely she became unconscious.
Sometime later Underwood awoke and found herself in the backseat of her vehicle at an unknown rural location. Thankfully, her son was still in the vehicle, unharmed.
Underwood managed to get into the driver's seat and began driving. She was very disoriented but able to contact her husband. He located her in eastern Hays County and the two made their way to their residence in Kyle where EMS and police were alerted.
Today, Underwood suffers life-long health issues due to the assault. She credits being able to cope with the horrific attack on the relationship she formed with Roya Williamson, Victim Services Coordinator for the San Marcos Police Department. Williamson encouraged Underwood to participate in a therapy designed to deal with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – (EMDR).
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy in which the person being treated is asked to recall distressing images while generating one type of bilateral sensory input, such as side-to-side eye movements, or hand tapping.
"Thanks to Williamson, she kept pushing me to go to therapy," Underwood said. "It's helped a lot. There was a time where I wouldn't be able to wear anything around my neck. At times I would drive 100 mph just to get through an area…but not anymore."
Underwood said it's helped eliminate flashbacks, too.
"Especially on a cloudy, rainy day; or when I saw a maroonish/red pickup," she added.
Williamson said Underwood has exhibited "great strength" and that EMDR therapy has worked for her.
"You have to process the incident in steps," Williamson said. "Particularly things that are triggers. Often, they're common things – like cloudy days. We also talk about the struggle; you have to externalize it."
Following Underwood's attack, multiple items of trace evidence (hairs), and latent prints were recovered from her vehicle. She submitted to a SAFE exam and biological evidence was also recovered.
The descriptions of suspects are as follows:
Driver – "Dago" – H/M, 40's, 6' tall, thick build, shaved head, small square goatee on his chin, wearing a white jersey with blue trim (baseball style jersey), blue jeans, had tattoos of crosses on both forearms – different designs on each arm. This suspect was called "Dago" by the other men.
Second suspect: "Chico" - H/M, 18-20 years old, darker skin Hispanic, closely shaved head, 5'5", thin build, tattoo on his neck (possibly left side of the neck – looked like writing), plain white T-shirt, blue jeans, ear piercing in left ear – diamond style stud. This suspect was called "Chico" by the other men.
Third suspect: H/M, 30's, 5'5" to 5'7", medium build, white shirt – with writing going down the left side of the shirt (possibly "Polo"), blue jeans, hair was closely shaved on the sides with longer hair on top. The hairstyle was described as a "frohawk."
The vehicle driven by the assailants, is described as a maroon or red GMC truck with peeling paint on the hood.
San Marcos Police urge anyone with information to contact Detective Patrick Aubry 512-753-2306. Several leads have been investigated but no viable leads have been discovered.
This article is part two of a monthly series the San Marcos Daily Record is publishing regarding local unsolved crimes that have occurred over the years. Law enforcement officials with the San Marcos Criminal Investigation Division hope by keeping cases like these top of mind that local citizens will help bring closure to family members affected, and justice to those who perpetrated these crimes.