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Children's book illustrator Jane Dyer is victim of bizarre attack

August 07, 2012|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • Children's book illustrator Jane Dyer posed for a publicity photo for the 1999 book "Blue Moon Soup." Dyer suffered a bizarre attack in late July.
Children's book illustrator Jane Dyer posed for a publicity photo… (File )

Children's book illustrator Jane Dyer was the subject of a bizarre attack at her home in Massachusetts from which she is still recovering. The suspect allegedly entered Dyer's house in the town of Cummington and struck her on the back of the head with a shovel; when she fell to the ground, he repeatedly beat her with a blunt instrument. The attacker ran off as she fended off blows and called for help.

Thirty minutes later, police picked up a 14-year-old, whose name has not been released; he has since been charged with home invasion, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person 60 or over, and assault to murder a person 60 or over. 

The attack on Dyer, 63, took place July 26. Her head wounds required five surgical staples, which were removed this week.

Dyer has illustrated more than 50 books for children, including "Time for Bed" by Mem Fox, the bestselling "Cookies" series by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, "Blue Moon Soup: A Family Cookbook" by Gary Goss, "When Mama Comes Home Tonight" by Eileen Spinelli, and the poetry anthology "Talking Like the Rain," edited by X.J. and Dorothy Kennedy.

Dyer told the Daily Hampshire Gazette that she was outside her home and saw the youth standing at the bottom of her driveway with a shovel and thought nothing of it. When she went inside, he had apparently made his way indoors before she did.

The Gazette reports, "Dyer said she has no idea why the juvenile entered the house nor why he attacked her, except that he seemed to think she was someone else. She said nothing was taken from the house and robbery didn't seem to be a motive.

"Dyer said she pleaded with the teen to break off the attack, offering him help, asking him why he was hurting her and telling him that she was a grandmother -- all in hopes that he would stop."

Dyer remembers telling him, "You'll be in a lot more trouble if you don't stop now," after which the attack ended and the attacker left.

Dyer's husband, who was not home at the time, believes the youth may have been in foster care nearby.

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