A woman whose story of survival captivated the nation just two years ago says she’s preparing to have a baby — and to those who know her tale, that’s nothing short of a miracle of modern science.
Jennifer Schuett was just 8-years-old in 1990, when Dennis Earl Bradford, 40, kidnapped and raped her then slashed her throat and left her to die.
She survived, just barely, and slowly recovered. Nearly 20 years later, police were finally able to use DNA evidence to identify the man. Confronted by detectives, he confessed to the crime and was locked away before finally committing suicide in jail, just one week before she was hoping to confront him.
In yet another sad turn of events, the savage assault left Schuett with pelvic inflammatory disease, likely triggered by chlamydia or gonorrhea, rendering her infertile. It’s an unfortunate and little discussed fact that rapists often have sexually-transmitted diseases, including human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is an extremely common STI and a known cause of cervical cancer. A vaccine, manufactured by Merck and marketed under the name Gardasil, can safely prevent HPV in young people, though many have played up alleged side effects of the vaccine and falsely say it encourages promiscuous behavior.
Hearing her story, Houston-based fertility doctor Craig Witz reached out and offered her free treatment, including an in-vitro fertilization. The treatment worked.
Speaking with NBC’s “Today” on Monday morning, she was beaming, crediting Dr. Witz with making her dream of having a family finally come true in spite of it all.
“I hope that from my whole experience she can see that, you know, I kept going,” she said. “And I hope that she learns from that and always stands up for herself and what she believes in.”
This video was broadcast by NBC on Monday, October 8, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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