Woman survives stabbing, fights off attacker at Minnehaha Falls

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A University of Minnesota senior is lucky to be alive after she says she was viciously attacked while hiking at Minnehaha Falls.

The young woman said it's not easy, but she wants to share her story to warn others about what happened to her Saturday night.

Lizzie Villanueva brought Fox 9 back to the spot where she was stabbed and nearly sexually assaulted that night.

"It was this tree that my head was […] slammed up against, forcefully, a couple of times," she explained.

Villanueva said the man came out of nowhere and smelled of alcohol. He told her to keep quiet.

"His body weight had me pressed up against the tree [so my hand] was pinned and that's when he stabbed me on this side," she said, pointing to her side abdomen.

The petite 21-year-old instantly fought back and pushed the knife away.

"That was really scary, when you're being touched and someone is trying to pull your pants down…you don't want to be taken advantage like that," she said.

All alone on a hiking trail in Minnehaha Park, Villanueva knew she had to make a fast decision to stay alive, so she ran for her life while bleeding everywhere.

"There was just no time to stop," she said.

She took stairs up to the road and flagged down a group of teens skateboarding. She begged them to take her to the hospital.

As she shows her injuries, she's also wounded emotionally, but not enough to sit back and stay silent.

"I wasn't going to let something happen to me. I wasn't going to be a statistic," she said.

The Minneapolis Park police looked for the suspect Saturday night, but were unable to locate him. They are still investigating this assault and have added extra patrols in the area.

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