A rather gruesome true crime story, but yet another reminder to women, please be careful out there!
A pretty 15-year-old girl named Mary Vincent with an extremely promising dance career ahead of her had decided to run away from home. She was angry at her parents as they were going through a divorce. Her destination of choice was Los Angeles and as she was hitchhiking to the I-5 in 1978 a blue van slowed down beside her on a scorching hot Southern California day. She was standing with a group of hitchhikers but the driver only had eyes for one passenger and that was Mary.
Despite protests from her friends, Mary who was hot and tired accepted the ride from a man named Lawrence Singleton. Singleton was a sea merchant at the time, he had the harmless look of a gentle old man. Mary fell asleep in his car, they stopped to do a laundry errand and Singleton who was a serious alcoholic started drinking liquor out of a milk carton.
Mary started to become nervous when Singleton passed the I-5 and drove her into a remote area. She grabbed a tool from the truck and demanded that Singleton turn around and return to the I-5. Singleton apologized profusely claiming it was an honest mistake.
Singleton then drove a few miles down the road and claiming he had to stop and urinate. Mary got out of the car for a breath of fresh air and to stretch her legs. As she bent over to tie her shoelaces up. Singleton crept behind her and smashed the back of her head with a hammer.
Mary was brutally raped and sodomized at the hands of Singleton overnight. He forced the young girl to drink liquor out of his milk carton until she passed out. He promised her if she would cooperate he would let her go.
Singleton lied. He told her to lie face down on the ground and took a hatchet, chopping off both the young girl’s arms and then threw her down a bank. Mary was completely conscious at the time of the amputations. He left her there to die assuming that she would bleed to death. Plus without fingerprints, at that time it would be hard to identify her.
Mary did survive! In an agonizing crawl, she made her way up the bank and started walking toward the distant noise of the I-5 traffic. She was a truly gruesome sight as she stumbled down the road, naked holding up what remained of her mutilated arms.
“She was holding up her arms so that the muscles and blood would not fall out,” read the court documents.
The passengers of the first car that came along were so horrified by her appearance that they turned around and fled! Two women in a second vehicle stopped for her and rushed her to a hospital.
They rushed to hospital where she was able to provide a detailed description of Singleton. The composite sketch was so realistic that Singleton’s neighbor recognized him and called police immediately.
For his horrific crime, Singleton was sentenced to just 14 years in prison. Only eight of which he served. Mary was forced to face him in court. She wore prosthetic arms. Singleton’s defense was that she was a ten dollar whore!
In I997, Singleton went on to murder 31-year-old mother of three, Roxanne Hayes. in Florida, for which he was given the death sentence that same year.
He died in 2001 of cancer before the sentence could be carried out.
When Mary was asked what gave her the strength to crawl up that mountain with just a shirt wrapped around her bloody stumps, she replied that she knew if she did not do it then, there would be countless other women who would fall victim to this man.
Today, Mary lives a happy and fulfilled life. She is an accomplished artist and her story can be seen on the TV show I Survived.