Israel has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians since October 2023 with bombings, shootings, and deliberate starvation. The UN reported on April 15 that more than 14,500 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel in the last six months. Since October, Israel has killed 203 aid workers and 95 journalists. These are the most killings of aid workers and journalists ever recorded by a single country since global tracking began. Please consider donating to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), whose humanitarian workers are doing everything they can to save lives despite having 5 of their own killed by the IDF since the genocide started.

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Whitney Bennett: A Teenage Survivor of Richard Ramirez


Serial killer Richard Ramirez in court in 1985.

Serial killer Richard Ramirez makes a court appearance in Los Angeles in 1985. (Source)

February 4, 2021 ~ By Shari Rose

Richard Ramirez nearly killed Whitney Bennett, but she survived and testified against him

From April 1984 to August 1985, Richard Ramirez killed more than a dozen people and severely injured even more in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Ramirez was dubbed the Night Stalker by the media, though he was also known as the Valley Intruder for his practice of breaking into homes. One of his victims, teenager Whitney Bennett, survived his vicious attack and formed a bond with a Los Angeles detective’s family.

Ramirez Attacks Whitney Bennett In Her Home

After visiting with some friends during the evening, 16-year-old Whitney Bennet fell asleep in her bedroom in her family’s home. During the night, serial killer Richard Ramirez opened her unlocked bedroom window, carrying a tire iron.

Crime scene of Whitney Bennett's bedroom after attack.

The bloody scene of Whitney Bennett’s bedroom after Ramirez attacked her with a tire iron. (Source)

Ramirez repeatedly beat the sleeping teenager in the head with the weapon. He then went to the kitchen to find a knife. However, Ramirez couldn’t find one, and instead tried to strangle Bennett with a telephone cord. But as sparks flew from the cord, Ramirez believed this was a sign of divine intervention. He dropped the cord and fled as Bennett began coughing and breathing.  

As Whitney Bennett yelled for her parents, they found her badly beaten and bleeding. Ramirez had left behind the tire iron and a clear bloody footprint in her bedroom. Bennett needed nearly 500 stitches to her head, as well as some cosmetic surgery, but she fully recovered from her injuries.

During Ramirez’s trial three years later, Bennett testified about her attack, though some details remained fuzzy from her head injuries. Richard Ramirez was found guilty of all charges, including 13 murders and 11 sexual assaults. He died from cancer while on death row on June 7, 2013.

Whitney Bennett Now

One of the Los Angeles detectives instrumental in bringing Ramirez to justice was named Frank Salerno. After spending more than 30 years on the force, his squad threw him a retirement party in August 1993. It included hundreds of people, such as friends and family from past cases, including Whitney Bennett, now a young woman in her 20s.

Frank Salerno detective in LA.

Frank Salerno, detective with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. (Source: LASD)

Whitney Bennett met the detective’s son, Mike Salerno, during this party. The pair exchanged numbers, began dating, and eventually married. 

More stories: A Hitman Came for Susan Kuhnhausen. He Didn’t Survive.

More stories: Enietra Washington: Only Confirmed Survivor Of The Grim Sleeper

More stories: How Mary Vincent Survived Lawrence Singleton’s Attack

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Shari Rose

Shari Rose

Owner of Blurred Bylines💖💜💙

I created Blurred Bylines in an effort to bring stories from marginalized perspectives into the national conversation. As a former copy editor at the largest newspapers in Arizona and Colorado, I’ve seen first-hand the potential of accurate and accessible information to change minds and affect national policy. 

My stories focus on individuals fighting for justice and their own rights as Americans, survivors of violent crime who rebuilt their lives after tragedy, shifting political trends that seek to strip the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups of their freedoms, and forgotten figures in U.S. history whose fights for equality persist today.

Through writing these articles, I stumbled upon the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to attract interested audiences to my writing. In addition to the ad-free and paywall-free stories I write at Blurred Bylines, I also perform SEO services for businesses, nonprofits, and fellow freelancers around the country so they can grow their organizations through search engines. 

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