Neighborhood witnesses rushed to help a woman while she was being brutally sexually assaulted.
According to reports, 25-year-old Caleb Heaton broke into the woman’s home on Thursday afternoon and immediately tied her up. Heaton choked the woman with clothing and proceeded sexually assault her using a rock and a knife. The suspect reportedly removed two of the woman’s fingers during the attack.
A Good Samaritan neighbor overheard the woman’s screams from nearby, and rushed to the house to intervene. When he arrived, she was soaked in blood. The neighbor accosted Heaton and it quickly developed into a fight that ended up outside the house on the street. Other neighbors rushed over and the group was able to apprehend Heaton until police arrived. Officers hailed the unidentified neighbor a “hero,” despite typically discouraging citizen intervention.
“She was very brave and smart and strong. She fought back. She made noise. And help came in the form of some amazing heroic neighbours [sic] who showed a lot of courage, who stepped up, stopped this horrible crime, and probably saved this young woman’s life,” neighbor Shelley Sullivan, who launched a GoFundMe page in support of the victim, said.
“We have investigative teams that are putting together the strongest case we can against the suspect we have in custody,” Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said. “And we’re working hard on the westside assault to see if there’s a linkage and we’re also examining some other cases."
Heaton reportedly had a previous criminal record.