70-year-old woman fends off would-be rapist

A 70-year-old Atwater woman woke up late Friday night to find an unknown man who attacked her and tried to rape her inside her home, but she fought him off, a Merced County sheriff's spokesman said.

The attack occurred about 11:30 p.m. at the home in the 3000 block of Second Avenue in Atwater.

The victim was taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center Merced, where she was treated and released. Sheriff's officials did not release the woman's name to ensure her safety.

Deputy Tom MacKenzie said the elderly woman woke up and discovered the patio window's lock had been broken.

She didn't see anyone, so she went over to fix the lock when the attacker struck her from behind. The attacker hit the back of her head with his fist and knocked her to the ground, MacKenzie said.

The attacker attempted to rape the woman, but she fought back, kicking, punching and scratching the suspect, who ran out of the home, MacKenzie said.

Sheriff's officials described the attacker as a man with a shaved head and wearing a light-colored hooded jacket.

The Merced County Sheriff's Department asks anyone who has information about this attack to call the Major Crimes Division at 385-7472.