Tanja Doss speaks about escaping Anthony Sowell


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In April this year, she said, he invited her over for a beer. They went to the third floor of his house and were talking.

“And then he just clicked,” Doss said. “I’m sitting on the corner of the bed and he just leaped up and came over and started choking me.”

Shocked, she said she lay back and tried not to struggle.

“He said, ‘If you want to live, knock three times on the floor.’ And I knocked on the floor,” she said.

Still holding her throat, she said, he told her using profanities that she could be “dead in the street” and no one would care.

He made her strip off her clothes and lay on the bed but did not try to rape her, Doss said. She said she curled up in a ball and tried to talk him down, saying things like, “Why you gotta act like that?”

Then she prayed.

Sowell wouldn’t let her leave, Doss said, so she fell asleep and awoke to him acting as if nothing had happened.

“He said, ‘Hi, how you doing? You want something from the store?'” Doss said.

She picked up her cell phone and pretended to call her daughter.

“I said, ‘Oh, wow, my granddaughter is sick. She’s got the flu,'” she said. “He asked if I wanted to go to the store with him, but I told him I had to go home. He went to the store, and I went in the other direction.”

Doss didn’t immediately report the confrontation to police because she had done jail time on a drug charge and assumed they wouldn’t take her seriously.

It is an amazing story. Ms. Doss goes on to speak about the guilt that she felt for not reporting it.

“Now, I feel bad about it, because my best friend might be one of the bodies,” she said.

I hope that she can come to grips with the fact that she did not kill her friend, or any of the victims. She should not feel guilty, Sowell should. Her reporting it might have helped catch him sooner, it might not have. I hope that she can let that guilt go.

At the time, Doss said, she didn’t think about what had happened with Sowell. She assumed he had just lost his mind for a few minutes. And Cobbs, she said, didn’t know Sowell.

Now, it’s all she can think about.

“It goes through my mind all the time,” she said. “Every time I think about it, I start shaking. I can’t get it out of my mind.”

Doss said she finally reported the attack to police on Monday, three days after news surfaced of the discovery of bodies.

Survivor’s guilt is terrible and can lead to depression and worse. I hope that Ms. Doss gets help.

  1. This is such a great blog Psychowatcher keep up the great writing.

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