STEPHENVILLE — A man is jailed after admitting to stabbing a woman who was watching her children play in a Stephenville park on Sunday.
Brandi Janell Todd was sitting on a park bench when the stranger stabbed her in the back.
Todd was being treated Monday night at the intensive care unit at Texas Health Fort Worth Hospital; her friends and family are praying for a miracle.
Todd and her children were enjoying one of the first warm, sunny weekend days of the year Sunday afternoon. As she sat on a bench watching her two young children playing at Stephenville City Park, the stranger approached. Todd likely had no idea he was there until it was too late.
"The man — Michael Howard — walked up behind her and stabbed her for no apparent reason," said Stephenville police Chief Roy Halsell. "Just once — and then walked away."
Todd was taken by helicopter ambulance to the Fort Worth hospital with spinal cord damage.
Officers arrested Michael Allen Howard, 42, as he walked away from the park. Police say he has a history of mental illness.
Investigators said that when he admitted to the crime, Howard told them he was angry with a mental health care organization.
"He made the comment that they wouldn't give him the help that he needed," Chief Halsell said.
Howard has been charged with aggravated assault, and remained behind bars at the Erath County Jail Monday night.
According to one friend, Brandi Todd is numb from the chest down, but does have some tingling in her legs. Her husband, other family members and friends remain with her at the hospital.
A fund for her medical care has been established at Town & Country Bank in Stephenville.