According to the police, a highly regarded high school softball player has been left paralyzed after allegedly being stabbed multiple times by her ex-boyfriend.
Spencer Ross Pearson has been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted premeditated murder and one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon causing permanent disability, as stated in an arrest warrant issued by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
It is unclear whether Pearson has entered a plea or obtained legal representation to comment on the charges.
Authorities report that the incident took place outside a restaurant in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Pearson, 18, allegedly attacked several victims, including Madison Schmitz and her mother, Jaclyn “Jacki” Roge, according to loved ones who identified them, as reported by the Florida Times-Union.
Madison, 17, and Roge, 43, had gone to Mr. Chubby’s Wings with friends when they noticed Pearson sitting at a nearby table, according to the warrant.
To avoid Pearson, Madison and her mother left the restaurant but were attacked seconds later in the parking lot, the warrant states.
According to authorities and a witness account, Pearson assaulted Madison from behind, held her down, and stabbed her approximately 15 times. Roge tried to intervene but was allegedly stabbed in the head and leg. A bystander who managed to disarm Pearson also suffered injuries during the attack, according to the warrant.
Following the assault, Pearson attempted to take his own life by slitting his throat, according to the warrant.
Speaking to WTLV-TV, Madison’s sister, Tatiana Cruceta, revealed that the stabbing incident has left the talented athlete paralyzed. However, the family remains hopeful that with time, Madison will regain her ability to play softball.
“Madison is a fighter, you know. She’s going to make it through this, and I know she is going to walk out of this hospital,” Cruceta said in the interview, mentioning that Madison has already undergone multiple surgeries.
Cruceta added, “Madison’s the sweetest person you’ll ever meet, she’s always smiling, always. So as soon as I answered the phone – we all call her ‘Sass,’ that’s her nickname – so I said, ‘How you doin’, Sass, how you feelin’?’ And she goes, ‘Oh just dandy.’ So, she was cracking jokes and trying to be strong.”
Madison and the suspect had previously been in a relationship. Authorities claim that Pearson began stalking and harassing Madison after their breakup in April 2023.
“There were some issues in the past after they’d broken up, where he was threatening her safety,” Cruceta mentioned, stating that her mother was considering obtaining a restraining order against Pearson. “So this was definitely premeditated,” she added, according to the outlet.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.