The search is on for two men behind a violent attack at Bagby Hot Springs that investigators are calling a hate crime.
The attack with a metal flashlight left three large gashes in Mik Holland's head. It fractured his skull and gave him a big black eye. Holland's friend was also injured in the attack but not seriously.
He is speaking out in hopes his attackers are brought to justice.
"I would just ask them why," said Holland. "Why did you attack me? There was no reason. I was very friendly and cordial to them."
Holland said he believes he was attacked because his is bisexual and his friend is gay.
He said they struck up a conversation with two other men in the soaking tubs last week and, at first, the men were friendly.
"They explained they were both from the Washougal or Camas area," said Holland. "I picked up that they were Russian or of Siberian decent just by their accents."
But things got uncomfortable when the topic turned to sexuality.
During the conversation, Holland said he and his friend revealed their sexual orientation.
"I became sensitive and maybe thought that one of them in particular was homophobic by just the questions he was asking me," said Holland. "Like, 'Oh, I just don't understand how a guy can be with another guy.' I wasn't really forthcoming with information after that it was obvious that I was feeling uncomfortable."
Holland said he and his friend moved to another tub, and the men eventually left. But when they came back, they started beating Holland in the head with the flashlight.
"I didn't know he was hitting me until the second strike and that's when I started to defend myself," said Holland. "I grabbed him and pulled him under the water. He was above me. I pulled him, and I remember feeling him blow bubbles under the water."
Holland said the attackers ran off right after the beating.
With no cell service, Holland and his injured friend had to hike a mile and a half back down to their car to get help.
"Maybe this guy has some serious fears or is questioning his own sexuality," said Holland. "I don't know. This was completely unprovoked."
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is investigating and said the attackers left the flashlight at the scene. Detectives are hoping fingerprint or DNA evidence from the flashlight will help them identify the criminals.
If you have any information about the identities of the two men involved in the attack, you're asked to call the Clackamas County Sheriff tip line at (503) 723-4949.
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Thursday, July 31 2014 11:57 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:57:19 GMT
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