Victim of brutal Rodeway Inn rape speaks following $16M settlement

‘This face is in front of me every night,’ she says

The victim of a vicious beating and rape at a northwest Miami-Dade hotel spoke exclusively to Local 10 News Tuesday after she secured a massive settlement against the hotel and its security company after employees were accused of standing by and watching it all happen.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The victim of a vicious beating and rape at a northwest Miami-Dade hotel spoke exclusively to Local 10 News Tuesday after she secured a massive settlement from the hotel and its security company.

Her lawsuit accused employees of standing by and watching it all happen .

The assault and sexual battery happened on July 10, 2021 at the Rodeway Inn off Northwest 167th Street near the Golden Glades interchange, police said.

The then-67-year-old woman and her husband were on vacation and were house hunting in South Florida at the time. Police said that 22-year-old Travon Smith opened their hotel room door, punched the victim’s husband and “bit him on the back of his neck with his teeth,” according to a report.

Local 10 News is not identifying the victim.

“This face is in front of me every night, every morning, during the day,” she said Tuesday. “This bastard, what (he’s) done to me.”

After being strangled and beaten badly, the woman said Smith dragged her to an elevator by her hair and forced her to give him oral sex. Police said he had plans to continue to rape her even further.

The police report said the woman stated that she was “strangled to the point where she lost her vision.”

“He grabbed me to the elevator,” the victim said. “He forced me to do so many things. I was screaming and I was screaming so many times.”

The victims sued the owners of the Rodeway Inn and its security company, reaching a $16 million settlement that was fully finalized by early July. Attorney Justin Shapiro called his law firm’s investigation “damning.”

“Nothing was done to intervene as this woman was beaten and sexually assaulted for ten straight minutes in the middle of an open hallway at the hotel,” Shapiro said. “With the settlement they’ll have the closure they deserve and the financial security that they’ll need for the rest of their lives.”

$11 million of the settlement came from the hotel’s owners. The remaining $5 million came from the security company.

Despite the settlement, the hotel’s owners did not admit to and continue to deny any wrongdoing in the case.

Shapiro said Rodeway Inn has since made security improvements that both he and the victim are satisfied with.

Smith is set to appear in Miami-Dade County court in August for his trial.

View the settlement documents below:


About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.