Discovering severely injured assault victim Marlene Bird was horrifying, woman says
One of the people who found Marlene Bird, the Prince Albert woman who was severely injured in an unsolved assault, says she can't stop thinking about her and the terrible state she was in.
"I was sick to my stomach," Stacy Free told CBC News of the day she discovered Bird. "It was straight out of a horror movie."
Bird, 47, was found June 1 suffering from severe burns and a disturbing laceration to her face. She has had two amputations of her lower limbs and gone through reconstructive surgery. She is currently in hospital in Edmonton.
'All she said was 'Help me, help me.''- Stacy Free
Police in Prince Albert say the first person who found Bird was in the area picking bottles. That person went to Free, who was with a friend, asking if they had a cell phone.
"He asked us if we had a phone to call 911," Free recalled. "I ran up to her and she looked right at me."
Bird was conscious, Free said, and she comforted the woman while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. As it turned out, Free knew Bird from casual encounters in Prince Albert but she was so disfigured by the injuries Free did not recognize her.
"I was trying to talk to her, I was letting her know that help is on the way. 'We're here, we've found you,'" Free said. "I was trying to ask her her name, but all she said was 'Help me, help me' and that was it."
Since the attack, people in Prince Albert have participated in several events to raise funds for Bird's recovery. Free said she has returned to Prince Albert, after recently moving away, to organize another event.
Free says what happened to Bird has affected her so much she felt she had to do something.
"It was a nightmare for me. I think about her every day," she said. "When I was getting up and going to work, I was thinking about her."
She finally sought medical advice and was ordered to take time away from work.
"He said 'take time off,'" Free said, and that is when she came up with the fundraising plan. "Well, I can't sit and do nothing, so this is what I decided to do."
Free is organizing a barbecue for Prince Albert's Kinsmen Park, July 6. Proceeds will go to a trust account that has been established for Bird.
With files from CBC's Ryan Pilon