SUMMERVILLE — The quick thinking of two young boys saved their wounded, bleeding mother from her knife-wielding boyfriend on Sunday, authorities said.
Dorchester County Sheriff's investigators said the Walterboro woman was stabbed nine times Sunday on the side of S.C. Highway 61 before her sons, ages 9 and 7, helped her fend off the man. Deputies on Monday night were still looking for the man accused of stabbing her.
A warrant accuses John Wayne Bailey, 38, of Coe Lane in Walterboro with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. Bailey does not have a prior criminal history in South Carolina.
Authorities said a man was inside a car with his longtime girlfriend, 36-year-old Sandy Bartram, their 1-year-old daughter and Bartram's two sons when the man told her to pull over near the Dorchester Shrine Club so the children could go to the bathroom.
Lt. Tony Phinney said the suspect first tried to entice Bartram out of the car before forcing her out of the vehicle. The children watched as he pinned her to the ground and stabbed her with a kitchen knife in the arms and throat, according to an incident report. Bartram fought back and ran back to the car, where she and the children locked the doors. But the assailant had the key, Phinney said.
He said the suspect repeatedly tried to unlock the doors but the 9-year-old pushed the locks back down. Meanwhile, the 7-year-old helped his mother dig a spare key out of her purse.
"They saved her," Phinney said.
Bartram sped off to a nearby convenience store where they flagged down a passerby who called police. Bartram was taken to a local hospital and later released.
Phinney said deputies scoured the area but couldn't find the attacker, who had at least a 30-minute head start. An incident report stated that deputies found a bloodied knife blade and evidence of a struggle at the scene.
Phinney said deputies have reason to believe Bailey may be in, or headed to, the Walterboro or Rock Hill areas.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office at 873-5111.