Troopers seeking clues in 2016 brutal beating of Somerset County woman
On Jan. 28, 2016, Somerset County native Rachel Mishler returned to her home in Greenville Township after finishing an evening shift as a health care worker at a Cumberland County, Md., hospital.
“I felt someone was behind me when I walked into the basement. … I turned around briefly and saw his face, but he turned out the lights and began to beat me … pounding my head off the cement floor in the basement,” Mishler said Monday, recalling the savage attack inside her former home, located near Meyersdale in Somerset County.
Three years later, an investigation into the attack is still ongoing. The attacker has never been identified and state police in Somerset are asking anyone with information to step forward.
Mishler said her assailant choked her until she passed out. She was initially treated at the Western Maryland Health System facility in Cumberland for multiple facial fractures and then transferred to a West Virginia University hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., because she had bleeding on the brain.
“I just think he’s a coward to beat a woman, or anyone for that matter, catching someone like that in the dark and overpowering them. Only a coward could do that,” Mishler told reporters on the third anniversary of the assault.
“My biggest fear is that he can do it again and severely beat someone else for no reason at all,” Mishler said.
State police Trooper Stephen Limani said evidence at the scene, including the suspect’s footprints, were collected.
“That home is in a very rural area. We’re hoping after hearing Rachel, someone may step forward with some tidbit of information that will help us find a key piece of evidence that may enable us to make an arrest,” Limani said.
Limani said there were other “home invasion-type” break-ins reported in the vicinity during the same time period in early 2016 but authorities were unable to link them to Mishler’s assault.
Mishler is now married and no longer lives in the home along the 3800 block of Greenville Road where the attack occurred. But she will never forget that night just before midnight.
“He didn’t say one word to me. I kept asking him, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ but he never responded to anything I said,” she said.
When she awoke about 20 minutes after losing consciousness, Mishler recalled blood from her numerous injuries running into a basement drain nearby.
“The good Lord must have decided he wasn’t ready for me yet,” she said.
Mishler still feels uneasy if she is home alone.
“It takes me two or three days to adjust,” she said.
Authorities said something was stolen that night from the home but they did not reveal what it was because it is evidence and could help in identifying the assailant.
Mishler lived in the house with a sister who was not at home when the assault occurred.
Anyone with information is asked to call state police at Somerset at 814-445-4104.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.