Lethbridge man charged with attempted murder, sexual assault in savage attack on woman
25-year-old woman, who was married only 2 months earlier, remains in critical condition
Police have charged a 20-year-old man with sexual assault, attempted murder and other offences, saying they're "absolutely rattled" by a savage attack by an apparent stranger on a young woman as she was walking to work in Lethbridge, Alta.
Police said the accused did not know the 25-year-old woman, who was approached on Sept. 30 and struck with a weapon, then dragged into an alley and sexually assaulted. She remains in critical condition in hospital.
The fact the two were strangers is something police don't see very often, Staff Sgt. Scott Woods told a news conference on Thursday.
"Like everybody else, we found ourselves really concerned about what happened there," he said.
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"It hits home to everybody that as this family is going through that, it could have happened to anybody. The fact that somebody is just doing what they should be allowed to do any day of the week — walking down the street — and have this happen to them," Woods added.
The woman was discovered by a passerby at approximately 8:30 a.m., and taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. She currently remains in critical condition.
Suspect to appear in court Friday
A neighbour told police he had discovered a man sleeping in his garage and told him to leave.
"Several items were reported stolen from the garage and some were recovered near the victim," said police.
Denzel Dre Colton Bird was arrested Wednesday after police received a number of tips from the public.
The 20-year-old man is charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and break and enter.
He is to appear in court in Lethbridge on Friday morning.
"There's a lot of relief, I think, starting with the family," Woods said. "It's a little bit bittersweet for the family obviously what they're still going through, not knowing really ... as to where they still may end up with their loved one being hurt."
"But still they've still got a long way to go," he added. "They don't know ... what the recovery status looks like for this young lady yet or if in fact she's going to survive this."
Victim was married only 2 months earlier
The father-in-law of the woman who was assaulted said she and his son were married two months ago. He can't be named in order to protect the identity of the woman.
The man said his son has not left his wife's side at hospital since the attack.
"We still don't know what it's going to be," he said. "We have highs and we have lows, one minute it's positive, next minute it's negative. We've had conversations with doctors to prepare us for the worst. That's the truth of it."
He said the family is praying she will recover and they've received support from friends around the world.
"This isn't about anger," he said.
"Having anger or resentment or anything toward this man will not change our situation. The only thing that can change our situation at this time is hope and prayer. Prayer, period, prayer. Our belief and our faith is what we believe will change this situation."
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