71-year-old woman healing after brutal attack

    71-year-old woman healing after brutal attack (Courtesy to KOMO)<p>{/p}

    The daughter of a West Seattle store clerk who was attacked believes that if it wasn't for a good Samaritan her mother would be dead.

    The assault happened Tuesday in a popular and busy neighborhood along West Seattle's California Avenue. And it was caught on camera.

    "This is my mother, who is 71 years old," said Dodie Nelson from her mother's West Seattle home today.

    She showed KOMO a photo of her mother's bruised face. She’s lying her hospital bed and barely recognizable. Her lip and one eye are swollen. She has bruises and cuts all over her face.

    "She has a broken eye socket and a broken arm," said Nelson.

    From the photo you can't see the gashes in the back of her head, but her daughter says store surveillance video shows how they got there.

    The brutal attack came while her mother, Penny, was stocking the candy aisle at Juneau St. Market Tuesday - hit from behind.

    Nelson showed up minutes after the attack, just in time to catch her mother before she was loaded into an ambulance.

    She thought it was the last time she'd see her alive.

    "'Oh my God, my mommy is going to die on me, and then what am I going to do' that's all I could think of," Nelson said, with tears streaming down her cheeks.

    She said the attack lasted about 10 minutes.

    At times you can see her mom breaks away and even fights back, but the assault continued.

    The surveillance video shows her being attacked while she’s down on the ground.

    Her daughter says it looks as if she's being hit repeatedly with a pair of handcuffs.

    A few minutes later you see the suspect pick up portable shelves, filled with store products, and throw them in her direction.

    "I don't get it -- it was so violent," said Nelson, who was shaking after describing what her mother endured.

    Penny's family thinks the assault was random.

    Nelson said her mom told the family she doesn't know the man who prosecutors have identified as 51-year-old Farrell Ditschinger.

    Our camera was there when he was captured a couple blocks from the store Tuesday.

    Seattle Police said they used a stun gun on him.

    Right now he's being held in the King County Jail on investigation of assault and investigation of robbery.

    At one point on the store’s security video you see the man trying to get into the cash register.

    "My mom does not want to talk about it right now, not even with me," said Nelson.

    Both Penny's daughters and her coworkers told me, she is a survivor by nature and she will survive this horrific assault as well.

    At one point during the attack you can see Penny’s arm reach up from the ground for the store's front door, but It’s pushed closed.

    Moments later a beer truck delivery guy shows up with a dolly loaded with beer to deliver to the market.

    He steps in and pulls Penny to safety.

    "If he had not yanked open door when he did -- my mom was literally trying to get out of the door," said Nelson.

    She needed help and she got it from a man Penny’s family will always consider a lifesaver and a guardian angel.

    "My beer guy, he saved my mom's life," Nelson said.

    Penny is in satisfactory condition at Harborview tonight

    She could be allowed to go home Thursday.

    Farrell Ditschinger has a court hearing tomorrow.

    News In Photos

      Loading ...