FORT MYERS, Fla. - Neighbors in Fort Myers community of Gulfstream Isles say it sounded like chaos Friday morning. Police say a woman was attacked by a fake Department of Children and Families worker.
"I was in my place and I heard a lot of chaos," Amy, who lives in the apartment complex said. "The girl sounded like she was screaming. I didn't exactly hear what she said but I could definitely hear she was fighting for something."
The screams came from a woman fighting for her life just a few units away. "The victim never saw the person before so we are still trying to ascertain why this person chose this individual out of anyone that lives there," Det. Sgt. Brian O'Reilly of Fort Myers Police Department said.
Just before 8:30 Friday morning, Police say a man knocked on the door of a woman's 3rd floor apartment. He claimed to work for DCF. When the woman opened the door, he went after her. "He began to choke the female," O'Reill said. "She broke away from him, ran out to the lanai, screamed for help, the suspect followed her onto the lanai, choked her some more. Fortunately, a maintenance man heard the commotion."
"I heard the screaming, screaming like crazy," the maintenance man, who didn't want to be identified said. "She screamed so loud you could hear it from Alabama."
The alert maintenance man said he tried to help in any way he could. "I saw the guy grabbing her leg and pulling her over like he is going to take her over the balcony on the third floor," the man said, "and I'm like, hey what are you doing?"
The suspect ran off. The woman claims she'd never seen him before.
We checked and the DCF does have measures in place to help you identify legitimate workers. They have new secure IDs. If someone knocks on your door, they should have an ID with a picture and holograms of the DCF logo. The back of their card lists a number you can call to verify the person's identity. Police say when in doubt, don't open the door.
The suspect is described as a white male, early to mid 30's, with blonde hair, possibly a receding hair line. He was about 5'5"- 5'7", wearing a purple dress shirt and khaki pants. The Police Department is working on a suspect sketch.