Woman fight­ing for life after ‘vi­cious as­sault’

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - DALSON CHEN AND CHRIS THOMP­SON

WIND­SOR — The shock­ing week­end as­sault of a 75-year-old woman left her with head in­juries so ter­ri­ble, the sur­geon who treated her says they’re among the worst he’s seen in his ca­reer here.

“In my 12 years in Wind­sor, this is the most se­vere beat­ing I’ve seen,” said Dr. Bal­raj Jhawar, a neu­ro­sur­geon at the Ouel­lette Cam­pus of Wind­sor Regional Hos­pi­tal.

Sara Anne Wid­holm, a grand­mother and River­side res­i­dent, re­mained in crit­i­cal con­di­tion Wednesday in hos­pi­tal.

She suf­fered mul­ti­ple brain hem­or­rhages, a blood clot on the sur­face of her brain that was im­me­di­ately threat­en­ing her life, ex­ten­sive skull frac­tures, frac­tured neck ver­te­brae, a lac­er­ated scalp and a badly bruised face.

Speak­ing with the per­mis­sion of Wid­holm’s fam­ily, Jhawar de­tailed the in­juries.

“The worst skull frac­tures I’ve seen in my 12 years here in Wind­sor,” he said.

“I’ve sub­mit­ted pic­tures to Wind­sor po­lice. This is among the most bru­tal things I’ve seen in my ca­reer . . . . Her eyes were so bruised, they were swollen shut.”

Jhawar said he’s speak­ing pub­licly about the case be­cause he be­lieves the com­mu­nity needs to know.

He was told by Wid­holm’s fam­ily that her early-morn­ing strolls on Ganat­chio Trail are a Sun­day rit­ual. She goes on them to pick up lit­ter and keep the walk­ing ar­eas clean for oth­ers.

“This is a su­per-good per­son. This is the cal­i­bre of woman we’re talk­ing about here,” Jhawar said. “She goes around clean­ing up other peo­ple’s garbage, out of the good­ness of her heart.”

Wind­sor po­lice ac­knowl­edged the ex­treme na­ture of the un­pro­voked as­sault in a pop­u­lar park area.

“This was, with­out a doubt, a vi­cious, vi­cious at­tack,” Sgt. Steve Bet­teridge said. “It’s very alarm­ing to see an at­tack of this na­ture, at that time of day, at that lo­ca­tion.”

Habibul­lah Ah­mad, 21, of Wind­sor, who goes by the first name Daniel, is charged with one count of ag­gra­vated as­sault.

Bet­teridge cred­ited wit­nesses for con­tact­ing po­lice as soon as they no­ticed some­thing was wrong, trig­ger­ing an im­me­di­ate emer­gency re­sponse and in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“That, quite pos­si­bly, saved this 75-year-old vic­tim’s life,” Bet­teridge said.

Wid­holm’s chil­dren live around the world — Alabama, New York and Swe­den. Jhawar said Wid­holm’s son from Alabama ar­rived in Wind­sor on Tues­day.

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