Police: Woman struck with ax had been hiding from attacker


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Authorities found Autumn McDaniels Lopez with a blanket wrapped around her. She was covered in blood and had lacerations on her head.

She told an officer her ex-boyfriend hit her with an ax.

In newly released court documents, Lopez told investigators that she has been hiding from her ex-boyfriend, Severiano Diaz-Ortiz, and that he had just learned where she lived prior to being attacked in the early morning hours of September 4.

Lopez told investigators that she told Diaz-Ortiz where she lived and that he had come over while another guy was over. The two men left the scene and Autumn Lopez went upstairs to bed, the court documents state. Hours later, around 3 a.m., neighbors said they heard screaming.

“She was covered in blood, head to toe. Everywhere she stepped was blood,” said Darlene Rodriguez, a neighbor whose family members came to the Autumn’s aid. “It was like something you see on TV or the movies, not here.”

Another neighbor, Jerry Thompson, said he rushed to grab a sheet to cover Autumn who he said was naked, screaming and banging on doors for help.

“It was unsettling, very unsettling,” he said.

Authorities say that Diaz-Ortiz allegedly attacked Lopez with an ax while she slept.

Court records obtained by I-Team 8 show that Diaz-Ortiz was convicted in 2008 of domestic battery and battery from an incident involving Lopez. He was sentenced to probation and the no contact order between them was vacated as a result of plea bargain with prosecutors.

As of Wednesday night, Autumn Lopez was still recovering at an Indianapolis hospital after the attack Friday at her Indianapolis apartment complex. Her mother, Ceci Groce, says her daughter is improving.

“Some of her bruising is intensifying, but her spirits are a lot better,” Groce told I-Team 8. “She’s smiling but had nightmares all night last night. I wonder if she’s really smiling or trying to make me happy.”

Groce said Lopez suffered a fractured skull, broken jaw and fractures to her inner ear. Lopez was removed from the intensive care unit. Groce says that her daughter remembers bits and pieces of the encounter. She says Lopez was struck in the head with the ax three to five times but managed to avoid additional blows by shielding her face with her hands.

“If she hadn’t done that, I don’t think she would be here,” Groce said. “You don’t get hit with an ax and live through it, but she did.”

As of Wednesday evening, authorities were still looking for Diaz-Ortiz. Groce said her daughter and Diaz-Ortiz had an “on-again-mostly-off-again relationship” but that Lopez had tried to move on, but it was difficult because they have two children together.

“It was hard (for her) to say I’m never going to talk to you again,” Groce said.

Neighbors said they have seen him around Lopez’s apartment complex in the days that followed the attack, some contend he has even stayed in her apartment.

“Yes, we recognize him by the car he drives,” Rodriguez said.

Severiano Diaz-Ortiz, 33, is facing charges of attempted murder and burglary after authorities say he forced his way into Lopez’s apartment.

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