TACOMA, Wash. - Tacoma police said a 26-year-old woman was brutally beaten as she was opening a day care early Monday morning.
The attack occurred at the Tender Heart Learning Center near Pacific Avenue South and South 80th Street shortly after 6:30 a.m.
Police said the woman, who is the daughter of the day care's owner, was approached by a man who said he wanted to enroll his son at the facility. Just moments before, she had sent texts to family members describing the man as "creepy."
Once inside, the man began beating the woman severely, using a chair during the assault. Police said that he broke her jaw.
The violence only ended when another employee arrived for work and found the victim surrounded by blood.
The man then fled, running south on Pacific.
Police responded and used K-9s to try to find the attacker. He is described as a black man in his mid-20s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a slim build, narrow face and very short afro.
Officers also canvassed the area and asked people who live nearby if they saw anything. Detectives said they are hoping someone will call in with information that leads them to the attacker.
The woman, who was conscious when she was transported to St Joseph Medical Center with severe injuries, said she did not know the attacker. She was later sedated, delaying detectives' efforts to get more information. A sketch of the assailant was not available on Monday evening.
Amber Parker, a former employee of the day care center, described the victim as "very loving, very kindhearted, very open-minded, down-to-earth, would give you the shirt off her back if she could. She never had a bad thing to say about anyone."
Police are investigating whether the man planned to rape the woman.
Investigators were inside the day care facility all day on Monday, processing the scene, and business there is on hold.
No children were present at the time of the incident. Some of the children who arrived with their parents later in the morning were cared for down the road, at another day care facility owned by Felicia Thomsen.
"I did get a phone call from one of my employees who said that there are some parents coming from Tender Heart, down the road, because something had happened and they're not able to get into the day care center," Thomsen told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Amy Clancy.