Victim of alleged sexual battery, robbery at UP Mall speaks out

No formal charges filed yet in case
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 11:49 PM EST
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Ariana Simms, of Elkhart, said she went to University Park Mall with her 4-year-old daughter Sunday afternoon and experienced sexual assault and robbery.

She said a Subaru was parked a row ahead of her, facing her car. The Subaru then pulled up and parked right next to Simms.

“Hindsight is 20-20. Looking back, I probably should of known that was a red flag,” Simms said.

Simms got out of her car and went to the back seat to get her daughter out.

“And I got part of the buckles undone, and someone ran up on me and pushed up and said ‘get back in the car...,’” Simms said.

She said a man with a large kitchen knife grabbed her and forced her to get in the front passenger side of the car.

“He said, ‘I will kill you right here. Get back in the car.’ I said, ‘Okay’... I closed my daughter’s door... pushed me over to the passenger’s seat, and he got in and closed the door... ‘Give me the keys’... asked me for my bank card... let me get my daughter out of the car,’” Simms said.

The man allegedly told Simms to get in the back seat and sit on the floor.

“And he told me to put my daughter’s blanket over my head. At that point, I knew what his intentions were. Something just told me if you don’t get her out of the car now, he’s going to drive away, and God knows what’s going to happen,” Simms said.

“I tried really hard to use logic. If I get us out of the car, we’ll be okay,” Simms said.

Simms said she told the man she wanted to buckle her daughter in. That’s when she turned her back to him, undid the buckles, and ran.

The man eventually took off on foot and, according to Simms, turned himself in.

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office tells 16 News Now that they are reviewing the case and no formal charges have been filed yet.

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