WHITEWATER, Wis. - The victim of a sexual assault reported on the UW-Whitewater campus Saturday, May 22 is sharing her story with FOX6 News – hoping to prevent the crime from happening to someone else.
Melissa Jasurda said she moved to Whitewater from Milwaukee, hoping to keep her family away from crime. On Saturday, she just wanted to get a little more exercise in – a decision that has since changed her life forever.
Jasurda has walked the trail where she was assaulted on the northwest side of campus countless times. Saturday, she passed a suspicious man walking his bicycle.
Surveillance images of UW-Whitewater sexual assault suspect
"I kept walking very slowly, listening for his bike to continue going forward. And when the bike stopped, I hoped that I would hear him get on the bike and ride away," Jasurda said.
Instead, Jasurda said she was thrown to the ground in broad daylight – trying to fight off her attacker before he sexually assaulted her and ran off with his bike just three minutes later.
It's a public trial, but the part where the assault occurred is hidden by trees and terrain – safety risks Jasurda said she didn't think about as critically as she does now.
"I now feel like I can't go outside without a buddy, and it's taken my freedom and my safety from me," said Jasurda.
Jasurda made the quick decision to hit the campus emergency button across the street. With her help, UWW police quickly found surveillance photos of the suspect and shared them publicly.
Pedro Mayorquin Landero Jr.
Late Monday, 24-year-old Pedro Mayorquin Landero Jr. was arrested and booked into the Jefferson County Jail thanks to community members calling police.
"It took the community less than 48 hours to turn around, make phone calls and turn him in so that no one else has to experience what I happened to have gone through," Jasurda said.
Now, Jasurda is hoping others learn from her case, either venturing outside with friends or paying more attention to who's around you.
"Even in your own backyard, you have to keep yourself aware of your surroundings," said Jasurda.
UWW police referred charges of second-degree sexual assault, robbery and battery to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office. Those charges have not yet been filed.