Editor’s note: The victim’s identity has been removed from this story once the suspect was charged in keeping with Global policy to not identify victims of sexual assault.
A newlywed woman was walking to work on 6 Avenue S. in Lethbridge early Friday morning when she was violently attacked.
The 25-year-old was rushed to Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre where she remains in critical but stable condition.
Colleagues say it’s unimaginable to think someone could attack someone like her.
“When you know her, when you know the type of person she is, you can’t imagine something like that happening to her,” Mackenzie Maynes said.
“It’s just shocking, it could be anyone right?”
“I’ve walked that same path and I’ve seen her walking,” Maynes added.
“This type of thing doesn’t happen in small cities.”
The woman remains in a medically-induced coma to help control bleeding in her brain and also has extensive head injuries. Lethbridge police said the scene was one of the worst they have seen.
“It certainly ranks up to the top of the list of some of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen and been a part (of in) an investigation thus far,” Staff Sgt. Scott Woods said.
The victim’s colleagues at Firestone Restaurant and Bar are struggling to come to grips with the fact one of their own was attacked just minutes from work.
“She’s one of the kindest women you would ever have the privilege of getting to know,” Mariah Miller said. “She genuinely cares about you and your life and customers absolutely love her too.”
She is described by friends and colleagues as happy and cheerful. They said they can’t believe the seemingly senseless act of violence happened to such a kind woman.
“She would never hurt a fly,” Miller said.
“To imagine her in that situation – again – it’s sickening and nauseating and I hope they find whoever did this.”
Friends said the even more alarming fact is police don’t know if this was a random or targeted assault.
“We haven’t been able to determine what exactly has happened to this young lady nor establish who was responsible for this,” Woods said.
As the healing begins, those who know her are rallying together.
“We’re praying for her family and we’re praying for (her husband) because we can’t imagine how it is for him,” Maynes said.
A website has been created for people who wish to help her husband, who remains at her side as she continues to fight for her life. The two had only recently been married.
Police continue to ask anyone who may have seen the woman or any other people, vehicles or suspicious activity along 6 Avenue S. between 13 Street and Mayor Magrath Drive between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Friday Sept. 30, to call 403-328-4444.
Police said no matter how insignificant you may think the information is, they want to hear from you.