When police arrived, they found her tied up and beaten, and apparently she'd been raped.
"The victim had bit off the suspect's tongue, or a portion of the suspect's tongue, and spit it out, and sure enough it was on the floor," said Sgt. James Ganely, Murrieta Police Dept.
It wasn't too long before McGowan was in police custody. Because of the nature of his injuries, he checked himself into the hospital.
The hospital, Rancho Springs Medical Center, is across the road from the Waterstone Apartments, on Hancock Avenue.
McGowan said he was cut by a tin can. Staffers didn't buy it, and called detectives.
"The hospital staff was very astute and called us and said this doesn't look right, and sure enough in the middle of the investigation we went down there and detained him, and it was the suspect," said Sgt. Ganely.
Police interviewed McGowan, but determined very little.
"We're trying to find out how he met her, and how he knew her. Obviously he's not saying much," Sgt. Ganely.
As for the tongue? "We put it on ice, and brought it to the hospital, but because it could not be attached we brought it here as evidence," said Sgt. Ganely.
Police say the victim is OK, but understandably traumatized by the incident. Detectives hope her brave actions will put McGowan in prison for the rest of his life.
"He's a sexual predator. He's done this three other times and got convicted," said Sgt. Ganely. "This is a man who does not deserve to be on the streets. He needs to be in jail for the rest of his life."
Police say there may be more alleged victims out there and are asking them to come forward by calling (951) 461-6361.