SLIDELL, La. – An 84-year old Slidell woman is recovering Thursday night, after having her throat slashed in an attack in her home.
The attack happened Wednesday afternoon on College Street in Slidell.
The family of Eula Reno told Eyewitness News Thursday, she will recover.
"She's doing good," son-in-law Lee Jay Reynolds said. "They sewed up her throat and the doctors say she should be ok. Her daughter's with her now."
At a press conference Wednesday, Chief Freddy Drennan announced police arrested 20-year-old Ricardo Tenario-Palma, an undocumented alien from Mexico. Tenario-Palma is charged with attempted murder and armed robbery. Drennan said Reno helped them identify her attacker.
According to police, Tenario-Palma has lived in the United States for roughly nine months and does not speak English. He was living with four other Mexican immigrants at a home across the street from Eula Reno.
Chief Drennan said Reno had become friends with the five men, and hired Tenario-Palma to hang her Christmas lights Tuesday. Investigators say he returned Wednesday, entered through the side door and attacked Reno, stealing roughly $65.
"She was very friendly," Reynolds said. "She never met a stranger. She was very giving. Church every Sunday, just a very friendly person."
You can watch the full interview with Reynolds here.
In this case, police said, someone took advantage of that friendly nature.
"It's one of those things that just rips your heart out when you see an elderly person that befriends someone like this," Drennan said. “And to me, it just makes the crime that much more heinous."
"It's just very, very devastating to know that this happened," said Cynthia Pierre. Pierre lives a few homes from Ms. Reno, and is a friend. "It's very scary because I'm here alone everyday also."
Eula Reno was alone when the attack happened.
"She had an emergency alert response button," Drennan said at the press conference, "and she actually was able to activate that after he left her."
Drennan said when they searched the home where Tenario-Palma was staying, they found bloody clothing and the utility knife that he said was used to cut Reno. He said Tenario-Palma confessed to the crime.
Drennan added that the other four men living in the home have jobs and were working at the time. He said they were not involved in the robbery.
Both Chief Drennan and her son-in-law said the fact that Eula Reno survived the vicious attack says a great deal about her.
"If she's got nine lives, she used one," Reynolds said.
"We're awful glad that she's tough," Drennan added.
"She's a fighter. She's a tiger. No doubt," Reynolds said.