After a brutal beating inside her home that lasted several hours, 40-year-old Dona Syms of Hampton got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon and shared her story of survival on Monday. She said her nightmare started after she gave her phone number to a man with whom she'd considered going out.
"Looking back now, there's probably things I could say that he was off, or weird," said Syms, talking about the suspect, Rahkeem Byrd.
She said Byrd came by her house a week ago last Saturday, a few days after she gave him his number. After asking her if she wanted to go on a date, she said she declined, but he did not leave. After that, Syms said the beating began.
"He'd throw me down on the ground... I come back to, and try to catch my air back, he'd pick me up and do it again," she said. "He threw me down the stairs."
At one point, Syms said Byrd used a frying pan to hit her several times across the head. She thought she was going to die, but woke up in her room a few hours later. Byrd was gone, along with Syms' car and other possessions, she said.
Byrd was eventually caught and charged in the beating.
"It's so hard, it's so hard," said Syms, fighting back tears. "Because I didn't deserve that. I didn't deserve it at all."
Syms did not suffer any skull fractures, and is expected to make a full recovery. Byrd was being held Monday night at the Clayton County Jail.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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