An elderly La Canada Flintridge woman was in stable condition Wednesday morning after she was kidnaped and driven to Indio, where she was beaten, stabbed and left for dead, police said.
Shortly after the attack, the victim, Eloise Purdy, 77, was able to walk to a nearby road and summon help from a motorist, who took her to John F. Kennedy Hospital in Indio.
A Ventura man arrested by the California Highway Patrol after he was spotted with her purse the day of the attack was released by Glendale police, said Sgt. Dean Durand, spokesman for the police department. The man, who was walking along Interstate 10 when he was stopped, said he found the purse alongside the freeway, police said. They said about $50 was missing from it.
In hospital interviews, Purdy said two men approached her in the Glendale Federal parking lot in Montrose last Friday afternoon and asked for her help.
They told her they had just arrived by bus from Ohio and needed a ride to a nearby hospital, where their sick cousin was staying, she told officers.
Purdy consented to give them a ride, but moments after they began driving toward the hospital, one of the men told her to pull over in a parking lot and ordered her to slide into the middle of the front seat, she said. He then got behind the wheel. Purdy told police that she noticed that he had taken out a small knife, but that he assured her they would not hurt her.
The other man got into the front seat on the other side of Purdy and they drove around Montrose before getting onto the 210 Freeway and driving to a palm grove in Indio, the police report said.
The men told Purdy that they would be meeting a man there who would give them $50,000 so they could pay for their cousin's hospital bill. But as they walked into the grove of trees, one of the men shoved Purdy on to the ground and stabbed her twice in the chest, the police report said. The blade of the knife broke, prompting both men to pick up tree branches and pummel her into unconsciousness, police said.
When she regained consciousness, Purdy walked to a nearby road and received help from a passing motorist.
Her car, a maroon 1988 Cadillac, has not been recovered.
Purdy said the two men used the names Randy Robertson and Paul Robertson. She described Randy Robertson as Caucasian, in his mid-30s, between 5 feet, 8 inches and 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds, with dark collar-length hair and a full beard.
She said Paul Robertson was also Caucasian, in his 20s, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall, thin, with blond hair and a gold earring in his left ear.
Durand said police have no motive for the attack, adding: "We don't really know the reason as to why. The whole thing is a little bizarre."