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Willowbrook victim has emotional, inspiring words just a week after horrific attack: ‘It’s only going to get better’

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WILLOWBROOK, Ill. – The victim of a brutal and horrific attack in her home was released from the hospital today and is speaking out for the first time.

Melissa Schuster, better known as “Mimi” by her friends and family was released from Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove today.

“I saw myself in the mirror for the first time yesterday. I was almost in tears,” Melissa said. “Then I realized it’s just the beginning. It’s only been a week I’ve been here and there’s already been so much healing taking place. It’s only going to get better."

Less than one week ago, Melissa was in her driveway in Willowbrook unloading her car when she says 31-year-old Londale Madison of South Bend, Indiana pulled into her driveway.

“He drove away, then came back,” she said. “All he asked was, ‘Can I have money.’ I said, ‘I don’t’ have any. I’m sorry.’ He said, ‘I need to get back to Indiana I need gas.’’

She says he left, she went inside. Then Madison came back asking to use her phone.  Then forced his way inside.

“He stabbed me over 17 times, in the neck, back of the head, lower back  by my kidney, my liver.”

Melissa was severely beaten, stabbed, and sexually assaulted.

At one point, she says the suspect went upstairs and she ran across the street naked and bleeding.  Her neighbor called 911.

"I remember thinking this is it, I'm not going to make it. I saw all the blood around me and I said I'm going to make it to my neighbor's house.  I'm going to find a way and make it there."

Now, Melissa and her family have a bit of closure and justice. Police caught Madison in Indiana on Tuesday.

Detectives showed Melissa a line-up in her hospital bed and she knew immediately it was him.

And to the man who nearly took her life, Melisa has a message:

“I beat him,” she said. “He wasn’t going to hold me down and take my life from me or ruin it from me. I want him to see that. I can go back and live a normal life when he made that choice to hurt someone else now he has to pay the consequences for that.”

Melissa says she plans to face her attacker in court.

"I want to see him put away for a long time," she said.  "He does not deserve to see the light of day, to ever come in contact with another female or anything ... He is an animal."