EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- Police arrested a 15-year-old Tuesday afternoon at Excelsior Springs Middle School, suspecting the teen of the stabbing attack of a 43-year-old woman in March.
Police say on the morning of the March 10 attack, investigators collected a large amount of evidence, including DNA, finger and footprints. Within the last 24 hours police say crime lab results came back linking the 15-year old to the attack.
The teenager has not been identified but was taken into custody at the middle school and is charged with first-degree assault.
On Monday, March 10, Tiffany Yelton was home asleep and her two middle school aged children were in school, when a hoodie-wearing intruder climbed through a rear bedroom window and got inside the family's home.
Neighbors say once inside, the young intruder broke a whiskey bottle he found in the house and repeatedly cut Tiffany on her face, neck, arms, hands and legs.
"It's a miracle my daughter's alive. He was within an inch of her jugular vein," said Kristen Mascari about her daughter’s attacker, as she fought back tears in March. “She's real sad right now. She has 40 stitches on her neck alone. Not to mention the stitches she has all over her face and the doctors had to cut off her ear, only to reattach it."
"She's definitely a fighter. She was between the front door and the front porch crawling out and blood was streaming everywhere as she tried to get away from him, but he kept pulling her back into the house," said Mascari.
A neighbor and friend couldn't believe that Yelton was assaulted, especially in the neighborhood where it happened.
"It was kind of shocking to the neighborhood. Nobody bothers nobody, so for this to happen to a lady that does nothing. She works hard, takes care of her kids and for her to be brutally stabbed like this it’s just shocking," said Tammy Peach.
The victim's family had expressed some frustration that no arrests had been made since the March attack. In its news release, the Excelsior Springs Police Dept. addressed that.
"Although we wish this case could have resulted in an arrest much sooner, it was imperative to the case that the crime lab be able to process the physical evidence and provide formal results, which takes time," said Capt. Clint Reno.
According to court documents, evidence collected on scene the day of the attack included the blade of a knife stuck in the victim's sheets, a bloody stick that appeared to have been taped to the knife blade, a cell phone and bloody footprints leading out of the home.
Police say the teen lives in the same neighborhood and was seen by officers wearing a bandage near the victims home that morning. Court documents indicate the teen told police he had injured himself while whittling a stick and that his cell phone, two knives and a carved stick were stolen from his porch overnight. Police say it was all evidence linked to the suspect through DNA, but they still don't know a motive.
"We still struggle with a motive in this case. It is odd, it's not the type of thing that typically happens here. So we still hope that someday we might know a motive," Capt. Reno said.
The 15-year-old suspect was taken from the school to the Clay County Juvenile Justice Center in Liberty. The case has been forwarded to Clay County Juvenile authorities to handle.