The woman stabbed repeatedly by her father-in-law Wednesday afternoon inside a vehicle in Allentown needed emergency surgery for her wounds and internal bleeding, according to city police.
Melissa Mercardo-Santini suffered significant bodily injuries, a physician at Lehigh Valley Hospital told investigators. She suffered two stab wounds that punctured her neck, one to her chest, one to her abdomen and wounds to her arms and forearms, police said.
She was taken by Allentown EMS to the hospital's Salisbury Township after the 3 p.m. attack, allegedly at the hands of 57-year-old Jose Santini Feliciano.
A second victim, Santini Feliciano's wife Lucina Santini, told police there was no obvious reason for the stabbing, court records say. She was cut on her hand when she grabbed the knife from Santini Feliciano during the assault inside a car at a traffic signal at 24th and Hamilton streets, police said.
Investigators had no further information on a possible motive to release Thursday afternoon, police Capt. Daniel Wiedemann said. Mercardo-Santini remained hospitalized.
"But from the last update I got, she was doing better," Wiedemann said. "So that's a positive sign."
Police credited two workers from a private ambulance company and an off-duty police officer, all of whom jumped in to help stop the attack, with helping to prevent more serious injuries.
Bystanders disarm knife-wielding attacker at stoplight
"(911) callers were reporting that several citizens, that came upon the incident, were both attending to the victims as well as attempting to hold the suspect Betkanyon down until police could arrive," police Detective Pedro Cruz wrote in court records. "Officers were informed by bystanders that they witnessed the defendant attacking Mercardo-Santini."
Officers found a folding knife at the scene, according to court records.Ambulance worker describes disarming man
Santini Feliciano, of the 1100 block of West Walnut Street in Allentown, was arraigned early Thursday before District Judge Jacob Hammond on a charge of attempted homicide, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of simple assault.
He was sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail.
A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled March 1 before Hammond.
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