Attack on pregnant woman in Montgomery induced labor
The Friday attack on a pregnant woman in Montgomery County induced labor, authorities said Monday, but both the mother – who is more than 35 weeks pregnant – and child are now safe and healthy.
Christine Devaux, 38, faces attempted murder, assault, burglary, weapons possession and false imprisonment charges for her attack on a pregnant acquaintance. Montgomery County District Court Judge William G. Simmons ordered her held without bond at a Monday hearing.
Police say Devaux shot the victim with a Taser, touching off a violent struggle inside the victim's house in the relatively quiet northern section of the county near Damascus, according to an arrest affidavit expected to be made public Monday.
The suspect had managed to get into the victim’s home along Sugar Cane Lane, according to the affidavit.
She was lying in wait wearing a surgical cap with her hair tucked inside and wearing cloth gloves, the affidavit said. When she struck the victim with the Taser, the victim fell to the floor, and was shocked again and again, according to the account in the affidavit.
The motive for the attack -- and the wearing of the surgical garb -- wasn’t totally clear. “Some of these questions remain to be answered for us,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy after the hearing.
But the end result could have been worse, according to Deputy State’s Attorney John Maloney. “We’re lucky we’re not here on a homicide,” he said during the hearing. The baby has been stabilized and is still inside the womb, McCarthy said.
Prosecutors argued at the hearing that Devaux should be held without bond because she is both violent and, given her connections to New Zealand, a risk to flee. Her defense attorney, Timothy Wilson, declined comment after the hearing.
Devaux was a “Standards Specialist” at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, in Gaithersburg, from 1997 to 2004, according to a NIST spokeswoman. Devaux’s most recent address was listed as in Monrovia, Md., in Frederick County, but she has been studying medicine in New Zealand. She was home on medical leave after an accident, it was reported during the Monday hearing.
At one point during the attack, Devaux told the victim that the victim, her unborn child, and her husband were keeping Devaux away from the husband’s father, who is Devaux’s boyfriend, according to the affidavit.
Devaux may have been wearing the garb to minimize physical evidence, sources close to the case said.
At one point during the 30-minute altercation, the victim almost made it out of her house, but was blocked at the front door by Devaux. “I never wanted it to come to this,” Devaux said, according to the affidavit.
The victim managed to pull Devaux’s hair, get away, and run to a neighbor’s house, where she called police, according to the affidavit. She sustained numerous injuries, was taken to the hospital and eventually released back to her home, police have said.
The unborn baby was "doing well" as of Monday morning, a Montgomery police spokeswoman said. The victim is more than 35 weeks pregnant, according to police.
This post has been updated since it was first published.
-- Dan Morse
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