Stabbing victim on the mend

A 16-year-old North Island girl continues to recuperate in hospital following a savage knife attack last week in Nanaimo

A 16-year-old North Island girl continues to recuperate in hospital following a savage knife attack last week in Nanaimo.

“She’s doing much better,” said the mother of the victim, whose name is withheld under a court publication ban. “She’s slowy but surely making a recovery, and should eventually make a full recovery.”

The suspect in the attack, Arshil Azim Parekh, 19, was arrested without incident and charged with attempted murder in Nanaimo provincial court last Wednesday.

The victim was studying at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo at the time of the attack. She had attended North Island Secondary School in Port McNeill before completing her graduation requirements early and moving to continue her studies.

She was stabbed multiple times in an attack that happened shortly before 12:30 a.m. May 6. Several 911 calls reported an assault in progress, a female yelling for help and that a man was seen running from the area.

Officers arrived to find a 16-year-old girl on the 3300 block of Fairway Crescent bleeding from what appeared to be multiple stab wounds.

She was rushed to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Police Dog Services were called to the scene at about 1:20 a.m. from where Cpl. Dean Muir and police dog Arco followed a track to a man a few blocks away on Colwood Road.

The victim underwent emergency surgery and has had two follow-up surgeries in the week since the attack, said her mother. She remains in hospital receiving further treatment and will require extensive physiotherapy through the coming months.

The parents traveled to Nanaimo to be with their daughter and have been overwhelmed by a steady diet of interviews with RCMP, hospital staff and court officials.

“It’s been quite eventful,” said the mother. “It’s overwhelming; this is like stuff you watch on the news.”

A fund has been set up through the Port McNeill branch of CIBC to help offset costs related to the victim’s care. Those wishing to contribute in other communities may contribute at their own branch by asking staff to contact the Port McNeill branch. With the victim unnamed, refer to the account for the stabbing victim.

“Everyone has been very supportive,” the girl’s mother added. “The whole Island’s been very supportive. People we don’t even know have been messaging us, from little towns all over the Island.”

In the hours after the incident, police started a grid search of the area to find the weapon used in the attack. An RCMP forensic team recovered a knife found within some shrubbery in front of a home on the corner of Colwood Road and Rock City Road shortly before 1:30 p.m., but police have not confirmed it was the actual weapon used in the stabbing.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the attack was not random, the victim and her assailant knew each other and investigators will be looking into their relationship prior to the assault.

Parekh was held in custody until his next court appearance by video link on May 20.

With files from Chris Bush, Nanaimo News Bulletin.

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