POSTED: Friday, November 6, 2009 - 8:12am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:58pm
Walking down the sidewalk near her Cleveland apartment, Gladys Wade squeezes the hand of her boyfriend, Junior Stanford and says, "it's going to be tough, but I can do it."
"Somebody 's got to do it," responds Stanford. Gladys is finally ready to talk about her violent encounter December 8th, 2008 with suspected serial killer, Anthony Sowell.
Wade told Cleveland Police detectives that Sowell punched her in the face and dragged her inside his home. Gladys refused to go without a fight. "He kept twisting my neck, twisting it, twisting it," she said, "and I was gouging his face at the same time. I was trying to take his eyeballs out. I got away for a second and then he dived behind me and jumped on me and started strangling me. So I fell backwards down these stairs and fell straight through a window."
Gladys says she can't get the memory of Sowell's face out of her mind. She will never forget the look in his eyes during the attack. "It was like the devil, eyes glowing," Wade recalled. "He was demonic or something. You could see the demons in him. I actually just saw it. That's what made me fight more. Because I knew this man was trying to take my life."
Almost 11 months after her violent attack, Gladys saw the news coverage of the women's bodies that were being removed from Sowell's house and his back yard. Her eyes welling up with tears, Gladys said, "I'm the one that got away. And I was actually in that house with all those bodies and didn't know it."
Wade added, "I could have actually been one of them. So I feel for the families of the ones that are gone. But if the police wouldn't have let that man go, those people would be here. They let that man go and that wasn't right." Even as she sees the video of her attacker finally in custody, Gladys keeps wondering why she alone survived.
"I keep thinking, why me? It wasn't my time, I suppose," said Wade. "Maybe that is why, so I could speak for the victims".