Teen accused of brutally attacking 71-year-old Surfside Beach woman could get life in prison

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SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – An Horry County teen could face life in prison for allegedly breaking into a 71-year-old’s home and sexually assaulting her.

Nicholas Rios, 16, is charged with attempted murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree burglary and kidnapping. A judge ruled on Wednesday that Rios will be tried as an adult on the charges.

In July, Horry County police responded to a home in the Southwood neighborhood off Highway 544 near Surfside Beach.

Describing it as a nightmare, the 71-year-old woman told News13 she was in shock to see the 16-year-old male standing in her home.

According to a police report, the woman was taken to the hospital with swelling on her face, bruising on her neck, cuts, and suffered from a fall during the attack.

“I can relate to her because I’m her age,” said neighbor, Carolyn Webb. “I’ve lived here 20 years, I walk the streets and I never hear of any incidents of this magnitude,”

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says 16-year-old Nicholas Rios will be prosecuted as an adult and could be facing up to life in prison.

“A wrinkle in all of this is until the juvenile gets to the age of 18 they can’t be housed at J Reuben Long so he will be held at DJJ until his case,” said Richardson.

Richardson is working to prove that Rios is a danger to society for what he allegedly did to the 71-year-old victim in her home.

“I tell people all the time, there are few crimes that are as bad if not worse than death and I couldn’t imagine having to go through something like this,” said Richardson.

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