Warning: this story contains graphic descriptions of violence.
A woman who was brutally attacked in a seemingly random home invasion Tuesday will survive, her family says, but her life will be forever altered by the ordeal.
Candace Richardson, 30, had fallen asleep watching TV in her Erickson, Man., basement, when she woke up to someone stabbing her repeatedly.
“She had surgery the other day to get the shard from the knife that was left over in her skull removed,” said Michelle Dominey, whose brother, Scott, is Richardson’s fiancé.
“Her whole face looks like it’s been sewn on. … There’s so many stitches.
“My brother has been spoon-feeding her because she can’t open up her jaw. The knife went into her mouth, into the other side.”
Dominey said her brother and future sister-in-law had moved to the Erickson area a year ago, where they opened a restaurant. So far, she told 680 CJOB’s The Start, there doesn’t appear to be any motive.
Wasagaming RCMP said Wednesday afternoon they had made an arrest in connection with the attack. An 18-year-old man is in custody, and police said that while Richardson’s injuries aren’t life-threatening, they were “quite severe” and will likely give her issues for some time.
Dominey said that’s an understatement.
“Her arms are both in casts right now. She can’t move, she’s basically just bedridden.
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“I honestly just think he probably thought she was dead, which is why he left.”
Dominey said the family credits a neighbour — who, thankfully, was a nurse — with saving her sister-in-law’s life. After the attack, Richardson was able to reach the neighbour’s house, where she yelled for help before collapsing.
To make things even worse, Richardson is in the early stages of pregnancy, expecting her first child — something Dominey said extended family first learned about while she was in hospital.
“She’s in her first trimester and she’s quite early on… it’s just so early on that they can’t tell, but they’re monitoring it.”
The one positive in such a grim situation, she said, is the support from the community — both in Erickson and across the province. A relative put together a GoFundMe account to help cover any of Richardson’s medical costs that aren’t covered by provincial healthcare, and as of Thursday morning, it had eclipsed its $20,000 goal by thousands.
Overall, Dominey said, the family just needs time to recover.
“I think they just need time. She has a lot of PTSD. She can’t sleep with the light off.
“She just needs time to heal and probably needs to go to therapy for a long time.”
The attack has reverberated throughout the small community, and municipal officials say this type of violence is unheard of in Erickson.
“We have a nice safe little town, and we always have,” deputy reeve Tami Johnson told Global Winnipeg.
“It’s a very low crime rate here, so it’s shocking to us that this would happen here.”
Johnson said the overall feeling in the community is one of relief after RCMP reported the suspect had been arrested — and while people can start to feel safe again after the fear and uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of the incident, it has still impacted everyone in the area.
“When something like this happens in a town that nothing happens in… it really hyperventilates things,” she said.
We’re not used to having to deal with something like this. We live in a really quiet little town. It’s such a random thing.”