Newlyweds work through trauma of wedding-eve attack on bride

Though the events of April 18 have brought she and her husband closer, a Beaufort native attacked the night before her wedding said the road to recovery has been slow -- and sometimes rocky.

"I'm currently under continuous doctor's care due to my recurring nightmares, insomnia and fear of certain people and places," Rhyan Mazur-Willamson said in an e-mail to The Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet. "I have had panic attacks but ... they have been somewhat under control thus far with the help of my doctors and through counseling."

Williamson, 26, and her husband Michael Williamson, 30, were sharing a cottage at the Beaufort Inn on April 18 and were scheduled to be married later that day at Sea Island Presbyterian Church on Lady's Island. Upon returning to their room from a Bay Street restaurant at about 2 a.m., Williamson said an unknown man jumped on her, covered her mouth and punched her repeatedly, causing multiple fractures to her nose and face.

Williamson declined to discuss the couple's thoughts on the Beaufort Police investigation into the attack, referring questions to Sgt. Darrel Gruel, the case's lead investigator.

Gruel said the department received the results of DNA evidence taken from the crime scene, but was tight-lipped about what those results indicated.

"I can tell you that those results are the first positive step we've had in this case," Gruel said. "(The results) allow us to eliminate some people as suspects."

Gruel declined to specify what pieces of evidence were returned by SLED.

In the wake of the attack, the couple canceled their church ceremony, their reception at the Oaks Plantation and a honeymoon to Mexico's Mayan Riviera. They instead were married in the backyard of the St. Helena Island home of the bride's parents. They have since returned to Charlotte to begin their lives together.

"It was good to get back to Charlotte," Williamson said. "It took me away from reality in a way, but do not get me wrong, I ... will always love my hometown. It's just a little hard to come back to."

As police continue to search for her attacker, Williamson said she's relied heavily on her husband of three months for support, a task he appears to have been up for.

"Obviously, my husband has been my rock," Williamson said. "To say for better or worse, and put that to the test so early is a pretty big task, but he has proven to be my heart and soul. There is a long road ahead, but there are days when I can see the end of the tunnel. Right now that is all I can ask for."