An Alexandria woman who police say was repeatedly stabbed, severely beaten and left for dead beside a country road last week survived unattended for at least 36 hours and is recovering in a Washington area hospital.
Maureen Figueroa was listed in critical but stable condition yesterday at a hospital that police asked not be identified. A police investigator called her ordeal and survival "amazing."
Late Monday, police charged Jose Antonio Rivera, 32, of Kennedy Street in Alexandria with felonious assault. Rivera, who police said was the father of Figueroa's three children, allegedly attacked Figueroa in his home Wednesday night and later dumped her in Stafford County, where she was found Saturday morning.
"I have no idea how she kept herself alive," said Detective Mickey Coffey of the Stafford County Sheriff's Department. "It's amazing."
Coffey added, "It's obvious that whoever left her thought she was dead, and the people who found her thought she was dead at first. She's a tough lady."
According to Coffey, Figueroa told police she was visiting Rivera at his home, where the couple's children live, at the time of the assault.
In a court affidavit that Alexandria police filed to obtain a search warrant for Rivera's home, Figueroa said that Rivera told her that "today you are going to die."
He then attacked her with a knife and an ax handle, the affidavit says. When she tried to escape, it says, he dragged her to the basement.
"She was beaten some more and placed in a blue sleeping bag," the affidavit says. "While in the sleeping bag she moved and he said, 'I thought she was dead' and he beat her some more . . . . She realized she must remain still to make him think she was dead."
Sometime later, police allege, Rivera loaded Figueroa into his car and dumped her, still in the sleeping bag, beside Virginia Highway 610 in northern Stafford County, near the entrance to a gravel quarry.
A local resident has told authorities he saw a car matching the description of Rivera's in the area of the gravel pit about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, around the time police say they believe Figueroa was dumped. The same man, who regularly walks his dog in the area, discovered Figueroa early Saturday.
Coffey said police were unable to question Figueroa in detail until Monday because she was not able to respond. The case was turned over to Alexandria police after Figueroa, who officers said is about 30, said the assault occurred there.
The charge of felonious assault carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, double the maximum sentence for attempted murder.
"She was in bad shape, but she's really something," Coffey said. "I think she lived because of her children. She just wasn't going to die."