‘God spared me’: College student speaks after found in dorm with mysterious and brutal injuries

A former Kentucky college student still does not know what happened to her a few months ago when police found her severely injured and unresponsive in her dorm room.

Police are equally baffled by the mystery behind what happened to Isabella Willingham, 21, back in November, an incident that left the former Asbury University student with cuts, bruises and gashes and struggling to breathe when her roommate found her. She reportedly had not been breathing on her own for about 23 minutes in the dorm room.

“It’s 100% baffling what happened to this young lady,” Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Grimes said, according to NBC News. “In some way, shape, form or fashion, she’s a victim just like anybody else. … We 100% believe something happened; we just don’t know what.”

In her first public comments, Willingham said she believes there is a greater purpose to her survival of the traumatic experience at the Wilmore, Kentucky campus.

“I want what happened to me to draw attention to the fact that Asbury needs more cameras on all of their exits and entryways,” she told NBC News.

“I believe God spared me because my mission is to now bring light to the safety issues on campus. … The students definitely need way more protection than they’re getting,” Willingham said.

She believes “the people who attacked me, more than likely, would have been caught,” if there had been security cameras at the doors to Glide-Crawford Residence Hall.

“I survived my attack, and I’m so thankful for the first responders who didn’t give up on me. I’m alive because of that,” she told NBC News,

The private Christian university said in a statement last week that, “Asbury’s priority remains the safety and wellbeing of its students, faculty, and staff.”

Willingham, who no longer attends the school, said she has no recollection of what happened and could not think of anyone who would try to harm her.

“It was probably a group of girls. I barely talked to anyone. I knew, like, three people on campus. Like, I never left my room,” she said. “I just feel like it was girls, because I only knew girls.”

The family is frustrated with the lack of progress in determining what happened and with the way the school has handled things.

“It was like Bella was being the perpetrator. Bella was the victim who became villainized,” Jennifer Willingham, the student’s mother, said. “If they believed my daughter was attacked, they would for sure say: ‘Guys, there’s somebody on this campus. We need to find out who did this.’”

“It was a dorm room. No blood. No damage. No craziness in the room,” Sheriff Grimes said. “If there’s nothing in the room that showed there was an assault … that makes you think maybe this happened somewhere else. We just don’t know.”

Willingham said she feels “violated” and wants closure.

“I don’t want to go back unless the person, whoever did this, is caught,” Willingham said. “All I can do with this is to try to expose what the school is doing and to try to protect other people on campus.”

Frieda Powers


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