A Pennsylvania man said he could hear his fiancée scream through the phone as a robber attacked her, leaving the woman severely injured and in need of reconstructive facial surgery.
Cliff McBride told NBC10 his fiancée Patricia was at the Rite Aid at 63rd and Race streets in West Philadelphia shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday. She left the store and was walking home when an unidentified man began following her.
“And she was talking to me the whole time,” McBride said. “She’s like, ‘I ignored him,’ and she’s like, ‘I’m walking out now and he’s following me out the store.’”
McBride said he stayed on the phone with her as she walked home, when he heard "a blood-curdling scream" before the phone hung up.
The man who had been following Patricia began to beat her over the face and head with an object, officials said. He then stole her coat, cigarettes, keys and $10 before fleeing the scene.
Patricia was taken to the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center where she was treated for facial injuries that were so severe she was unable to speak to police.
“I didn’t recognize her,” McBride said. “Teeth hanging out of her face. Blood, just blood. A pool of blood, I mean, just everywhere.”
Patricia will need to undergo reconstructive surgery on her face and have her jaw wired shut. McBride said the injuries are hard to look at and have taken an emotional toll on him.
“I can’t even go there to visit her because I can’t…because I was on the phone with her and I just couldn’t get there quick enough,” McBride said while fighting back tears.
On Sunday, police arrested a 19-year-old suspect believed to be connected to a strong-armed robbery along the 4100 block of Chester Avenue. That attack appeared similar to Saturday's attack on Patricia, police said. As investigators questioned the man, he allegedly confessed to both incidents, police said.
As of Monday morning, police had yet to identify the suspect.