A New York teenager who doctors feared would be paralyzed after allegedly being stabbed several times by the man charged with raping her is improving and will walk again, doctors said today.
The woman is now moving all her extremities, but "the whole outcome still remains to be seen because she's still critical," said Dario Centorcelli, spokesman for Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, N.Y.
The mother of the 17-year-old stabbing victim claims the suspect should never have been let out of jail.
Daniel Paguay, 20, was initially jailed last April on charges that he raped the victim, who is a former girlfriend and had a child with Paguay.
Paguay was released on $25,000 bail in May, although prosecutors initially asked Queens Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Zaro to set bail at $250,000.
Queens district attorney spokesman Kevin Ryan defended the judge's decision. "In this particular case the defendant is unemployed so $25,000 is a significant amount of money," Ryan said.
The girl's family does not think Paguay should have had a chance at making bail.
"How could [Paguay] be out?" demanded Evelia Leon, the 41-year-old mother of the stabbing victim, in an interview with the New York Daily News. "He's crazy. Who would stab someone like that, especially the mother of his son?"
Raquel Singh, executive director of the Voices of Women Organizing Project, an initiative of the Battered Women's Resource Center in New York, said judges and other officials "don't tend to take domestic violence seriously enough to bring the abusers to justice."
"When it escalates to that type of violence and the abuser is in the court, that's when it's much more dangerous for the survivor," she said.
Paguay was charged with breaking into her bedroom June 11 and rummaging through her paperwork. The victim's roommate told prosecutors she confronted him and he ran.
The alleged stabbing occurred Monday. Gabriel Calle, Paguay's cousin who is now dating the victim, told prosecutors he saw Paguay chase the girl down a street in Queens. Calle told prosecutors Pagauy held her in a choke hold, threatening her with a large knife.
Calle said he struggled with Pagauy, and ended up with several knife cuts on his arm. Then Paguay allegedly stabbed the girl several times in the back after dragging her into a nearby grocery store. She was brought to the hospital in cardiac arrest, and at the time she was paralyzed from the waist down.
The Legal Aid attorney who represented Paguay after he was charged with rape declined to comment, saying Paguay has now hired his own attorney for the new charges.
Paguay faces up to 25 years for attempted murder and 15 years for burglary.