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Orange County woman who survived brutal attack now fights for victims

April 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of a violent attack against an Orange County woman who was drugged, beaten, bound and assaulted.

The woman, Patricia Wenskunas, fought off her attacker and survived. Now she fights for other crime survivors.

The April 4, 2002 attack began when Wenskunas was drugged by Jeffrey Kelavos, a personal trainer she trusted. She awoke to find herself stripped naked with her face covered with plastic wrap.

"He was head-butting me and banging my head into the wall, and just screaming that he was going to kill my son," Wenskunas said. "Ultimately, he could have killed my son. He could have killed me, for what reason I have no idea still to this day."

Luckily her son, who was 12 years old at the time, wasn't home.

Wenskunas fought back and escaped by jumping from her 12-foot balcony.

Kelavos was later convicted of assaulting and threatening her. He received only 120 days in jail, which bothers her to this day.

"We should have judges and a system that protects us, and sadly that didn't happen in my case," she said.

The sentencing was a turning point for Wenskunas. It compelled her to start Crime Survivors, an organization that provides guidance and support to victims of crimes.

"I've seen her reach out to other crime survivors in a very personal basis and she'll do it at a moment's notice," said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.

Recently, Orange County Crime Stoppers was launched to encourage people to report crimes through anonymous tips.

On the anniversary of the attack, Wenskunas plans to spend the day with her grandchildren celebrating at Disneyland.

"I'm not going to allow a criminal or an evil person to take my life or my future," she said. "I am a survivor and I am proud of it."


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