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Belly-Slasher Is Neighbor, Victim Says

October 15, 2005|From Associated Press

FORD CITY, Pa. — A woman whose belly was slashed in an apparent attempt to steal her unborn baby identified the attacker as her next-door neighbor, a prosecutor said Friday.

Valerie Lynn Oskin, 30, told investigators it was "definitely" Peggy Jo Conner who attacked her, Armstrong County Dist. Atty. Scott Andreassi said.

Oskin was rescued after a teenager spotted the women struggling. The baby boy was delivered at a hospital in healthy condition, officials said.

Oskin was recovering from head injuries suffered when she was struck with a baseball bat by her assailant.

Conner, 38, was jailed without bail on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and aggravated assault of an unborn child.

Prosecutors said Oskin would have died if Adam Silvis, 17, hadn't come across the two women while riding his allterrain vehicle. He alerted his father, who called police.

Doctors at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh performed an emergency Caesarean on Wednesday to deliver the baby.

Oskin's breathing tube was removed Friday as her condition improved.

One of the first things she asked investigators was if her child was all right, Andreassi said at a news conference.

Police said they found a bassinet and baby swing in Conner's home. They did not know whether Conner had been recently pregnant.

Conner's preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

Oskin's recollection is spotty because of her head injury, Andreassi said. She remembers being hit, waking up later and being driven around by Conner, but doesn't recall an exact time line.

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