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Father: 18-year-old was 'content with her life' before machete attack

Posted January 23

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— An 18-year-old who was attacked by a man with a machete has returned home from the hospital to face a long road to recovery.

More than a week after Priyanka Kumari was attacked, a sense of sadness and heaviness remains. Her father, Pankaj Kumar, said his daughter is trying to be strong, but she still has nightmares and wakes up asking for help. He said it feels like life at home has fallen apart.

“She was living and happy and content with her life before this happened and then I look at her and feel very sad,” he said.

Kumari has been home from the hospital for more than a week after being attacked with a machete by 20-year-old Neel Salil Mehta.

“He tried to cut her head in half,” Kumar said. “It was so horrific. We couldn’t even think that anybody would think that way.”

Kumar said his daughter is trying to remain strong and that helps the rest of the family do the same. Priorities have now shifted to her physical and emotional recovery.

“She might have to go for various occupational therapies and maybe physical therapies and I’ve already scheduled the appointment for the trauma therapy,” Kumar said.

As for Mehta, Kumar said his daughter never dated him. He said she had mentioned Mehta’s peculiar behavior once before, but said, in part because he travels often for business, he didn’t know about the alleged harassing emails and text messages until after the attack.

“She had planned to tell me in detail when I was going to come here on the 26th, but this incident happened way before that,” he said.

Kumar said he talks to his daughter about the possibility that someday her story will prevent someone from going through the same thing.

“You can spread awareness of what you went through in your life,” he said.

Mehta was still being held Monday night under $2 million bond. Authorities said they plan to upgrade the charges against him from assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill to attempted first-degree murder.

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  • Sheila Moore Jan 24, 1:14 p.m.
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    Attempted murder should have a stronger penalty than murder itself. One penalty for murder, one penalty for failure.

  • Karen Orndorff Jan 24, 10:08 a.m.
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    Prayers for you and your family.