The 33-year-old woman has not been identified because she is a victim of a sexual assault.
The attack began shortly before dawn on Friday when the woman heard a knock at her front door. When she climbed out of bed to check on the noise, however, she found nobody there.
Moments later, she heard another knock only to again find her front yard empty. When the doorbell chimed, she opened the door once more.
This time, the yard was not empty.
Instead, a stranger stood to the side of her front door holding a 13-inch serrated knife, according to NBC News 2.
The woman screamed “No” and tried to flee inside her house but the man pushed his way into her house and locked the door behind him. He then tackled the woman and punched her several times in the face.
“Stop fighting and I won’t hurt you,” the man reportedly told the woman before slinging her over his shoulder and carrying her into the bedroom, according to ABC News 4.
The woman, however, had no intention of giving up. And when the attacker tried to pull down her shorts, she kicked him in the groin.
“Now you have to die,” he told her, according to the police report.
The assailant then forced himself on top of her and shoved his tongue in her mouth.
It was the only opening the woman would need.
Faced with a younger, stronger, armed assailant, the woman did exactly what self-defense experts suggest: she went for her attacker’s weak spot. In this instance, it was his tongue.
The woman “bit his tongue as hard as she could until she heard it snap,” according to the police report. Miller then began screaming and climbed off of her.
The woman ran out of the house, but not before spitting out her attacker’s tongue and throwing it on her kitchen floor.
She then drove to a nearby gas station and used the phone to call police, having left her own phone behind in the house. When police arrived, they found the woman’s face bruised and swollen. She also had scratches on her knee and foot. But she had escaped the worst outcome.
As police began searching for the suspect, they received some unexpected help. Over the radio they heard that a North Charleston woman had called for an ambulance for her son. When asked what was wrong with him, she told the 911 operator that his problem was “not having a tongue,” according to the police report.
Cops were able to connect the dots, arresting Miller at a Waffle House. Prosecutors have charged him as an adult with five felonies: first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and first-degree kidnapping, according to Live 5 News.
The attacker may not be as easy to piece together as the case, however. It’s unclear if doctors were able to reattach his severed tongue, which cops found in his victim’s kitchen and put on ice.
The attack has garnered national attention, primarily because of the woman’s remarkable act.
“Warrior not victim! Victor not victim!!” wrote Charleston resident Jennifer Leigh Jones-Wood on the Live 5 News Web site. “This lady is my heroine!!”
Many others wryly commented on the almost Biblical punishment she enacted on her alleged attacker.
“It will be awhile before he will be able to testify to try to defend himself,” wrote Jo Cannon, another Charleston resident, on ABC News 4.
Adding to the story is a claim by another North Charleston woman that she saw a man she believes to be the same one in the attack lurking on her doorstep the night before and called the cops, only for police to let him go.
“The fact that someone was on my porch at that time in the middle of the night for no reason at all, and then he was questioned and said he was looking for a girlfriend, his girlfriend, it’s unnerving,” Mulvey told ABC News 4.
“It was a silhouette in my window,” she said. “But when they had the light on him, I could see that hair.”
Miller’s neighbors told NBC News 2, however, that the 16-year-old suffers from a “brain disorder.”
“I don’t believe that he is responsible for his actions,” an unidentified neighbor told the TV station. “He has a brain disorder that causes him to act on impulse and do things… he’s only reading at a second grade level.”
Miller has admitted to the charges and a judge has denied him bond, according to local media.
So far, the intended victim has stayed out of the spotlight. But the crime scene spoke for itself. When police arrived on Friday morning they found the bedroom splattered with blood.
It wasn’t hers.