Case of D.C. Marine Biologist Accused in Wife's Brutal Attack Wrapped in Mystery

VIDEO: Justice Department probe is spurred by complaints of how cases were handled.
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A renowned Washington, D.C., marine biologist has been barred for nearly a month from seeing his wife after police identified him as the main suspect in a mysterious attack on her in their apartment.

Married for 18 years, Svetlana and "Ocean Doctor" David Guggenheim are now ensnared in an incident that has prompted investigators to raise questions about the nature of their relationship.

Svetlana Guggenheim, 46, was attacked in the couple's Washington apartment in April. The Russian translator was found wearing only a blouse, with her face swollen and her hair covered in dried blood. Her skull and left eye socket were fractured and her upper arms were bruised, the Washington Post reported.

She is now recovering from a subdural hematoma in an area hospital.

"She can't eat solid food. She's being fed through a stomach tube," David Guggenheim told ABC News. "She's feeding through a trach, which is a breathing tube through her neck."

David Guggenheim, 52, who is a senior fellow at the nonprofit Ocean Foundation, a lecturer, explorer and often a TV guest, says he was out of town in Philadelphia at the time of the attack, but rushed back to be by his wife's side at the hospital.

But he has since been banned from seeing Svetlana because police consider him the lead suspect in case. Guggenheim said the suspicion stems from a comment Svetlana supposedly made to a nurse, claiming that he was behind the attack.

There's no mention of such a comment in the court documents obtained by ABC News and the police have declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

"Svetlana has no recollection of talking to a nurse or anybody and saying anything like that," he said through tears. "I firmly believe [the attack] affected her recovery, and certainly has affected our emotional state as a family."

In a series of notes written to her husband, Svetlana said, "they are supposedly keeping me safe from you," while in a later note she said she was "going crazy" with worry about him, according to the Post.

Court documents show that Washington police state: "Ms. Guggenheim herself has directed the hospital that she does not wish to have contact with the plaintiff [David Guggenheim]."

So Guggenheim -- known as "the Ocean Doctor" in professional circles -- took the police to court, fighting to regain visitation rights.

"Let's say the police did have a reason to suspect me," he told ABC News. "They [have also] deprived her own daughter being able to visit."

Guggenheim still maintains that he was out of town at the time of the attack, and says that when he told police he had receipts proving it, they told him to save them for later.

FBI expert for ABC News Brad Garrett says that investigators will need to prove David Guggenheim's involvement. "They must have some evidence that would suggest that he was involved in hurting her," Garrett said.

As police try to unravel the mystery, Guggenheim says he had nothing to do with the incident and that he has no idea what he'd say to his wife's attacker.

"I wouldn't speak to that person," he says. "I don't know what I would say."

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