Relatives of a North Aurora woman who was stabbed at a hospital Tuesday say they still are in shock over the apparently unprovoked attack, which left their 78-year-old family matriarch with numerous facial injuries.
"I've never seen someone who has done so many good things in life be hurt like that," said Tricia Ramsey of Chicago, who identified the victim as her great-grandmother, Naomi Johnson.
"It's very traumatic for her," Ramsey said Thursday. "She can't understand why someone would do something like that."
Darrell Franklin, 39, of Aurora, was being held in the Kane County jail Thursday on $100,000 bail, charged with one count each of aggravated battery to a person 60 or older, and aggravated battery to a senior citizen.
Police said Franklin stabbed the victim multiple times with a butter knife while visiting the room she shared with his mother at Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora.
Authorities said the attack, about 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, may have happened moments after Franklin learned his son had been killed in an unrelated incident. "I woke up this morning wondering if it was all a nightmare," Ramsey said. "I've had to pinch myself so many times."
Attempts to reach relatives of Franklin or anyone who could speak on his behalf were unsuccessful.
The director of an Aurora emergency shelter that matches his address in court documents did not return a message.
Ramsey said Johnson, known throughout the family as "mom," moved to North Aurora from Chicago after her husband died two years ago to be close to her daughter and caretaker, Tamiko Maddox.
Ramsey said Johnson was admitted to the hospital a few days ago with urinary tract and kidney infections, and was receiving dialysis.
Police said the stabbing left her with cuts to the face and shoulders, a broken nose, a broken facial bone and a fractured eye socket.
"We're very concerned about her health," Ramsey said. "She has only one functioning kidney at this point, so they're going to try to take care of that."
Ramsey said relatives and friends were showering Johnson with flowers, prayers and other support, and the family is consulting an attorney.
While she does not blame Provena specifically for what happened, Ramsey said she hopes the incident will lead to legislative action requiring hospitals to "be more careful about screening people and what they have access to."
"You can't predict this man was going to do this," she said. "But we should learn from it."
Franklin is due in court Sept. 16 in St. Charles. If convicted of the most serious offense, he faces up to seven years in prison, prosecutors said.
Family: Woman was receiving dialysis, relatives say