Willowbrook attack victim speaks after release from hospital

WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- The victim of a brutal sexual assault last week in suburban Willowbrook was released from the hospital Friday.

Melissa Schuster's release comes as the Indiana man suspected in her attack appeared in DuPage County Court. A judge let stand the $5 million bond that had already been put in place.

VIDEO: Melissa Schuster talks to media about Willowbrook attack

"I was still alive, God obviously has a purpose for me," Schuster said.

Usually ABC7 does not identify victims of alleged sexual attacks, but Schuster said she wanted to share her story in hopes of helping others.

"I was determined that I wasn't going to let this defeat me - I want to be able to get on with my life and I knew that I want to hopefully make a difference in somebody else's life," Schuster said.

Seated in a wheelchair and surrounded by her family, the 26-year-old says the Aug. 29 attack happened as she was loading her car. She said a man she didn't know first asked for money before forcing his way inside her home.

"We finally got in and he grabbed me and I grabbed him and I remember we spun outside. I remember hitting him, I remember screaming and just thinking, 'Ok, I have to figure out some way to get out,'" she said.

Schuster was stabbed over 17 times and suffered several fractures. She was able to escape and get help from a neighbor.

Police arrested 31-year-old Londale Madison of South Bend, Ind. He faces several charges, including attempted first degree murder.

"This is unspeakable joy today," said Paul Schuster, Melissa's father. "Mimi wins, we have our daughter back."

Schuster says she doesn't see herself as brave or a hero, just an average person now charged with an extraordinary purpose.

"I defeated him, I took him down, and he may have tried to do whatever he could to me but ultimately in the end, I won," she said.

"The victim is a hero," said Robert Berlin, DuPage County State Attorney. "To go through what she went through - to be the victim of such an incredibly violent attack - and be able to give the police such a detailed description of not only the offender, but the car that was used, is truly a miracle."
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