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As Denisse Escareno remains in a coma, fighting a new infection, the man accused of leaving her in that condition made his first court appearance on Tuesday.
And even as Escareno’s family and friends have continued rally around her fight to survive being brutally assaulted three weeks ago, and now her community has joined in that support.
“We are working on getting a bank fund set up for her, but in the meantime, people can make donations to her at the day care where she works; we have already have several people do that,” said Melody Riddle, Escareno’s roommate and best friend.
“Bonnie Burgin, the manager there, said people are more than welcome to come and make donations in Denisse’s name.”
Escareno works at Community Christian Daycare, located at 520 Mount Eden Road.
Her aunt, Krissi Tipton, said Tuesday that she was also planning to put out several collection jars at various convenience stores throughout town.
“That will give everyone a chance to help her that wants to,” she said.
Burgin said people may make donations in person by coming to the daycare, or they may mail them in.
“Also, I am working on getting a fund set up at Citizens Union Bank for her, and hope to get that done by tomorrow or the next day,” she said Tuesday.
Bank officials confirmed the fund was in the process of being set up, but said as of Tuesday that it was not been completed.
Escareno was found Nov, 5 lying by the side of Mount Eden Road, severely beaten, barely breathing, and Spencer County resident Mark Bruner was arrested Nov. 15 and charged with first-degree assault in connection with that crime.
He was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Shelby District Court, and Capt. Tony Aldridge at the Shelby County Detention Center, where Bruner has been lodged since his arrest under a $100,000 cash bond, said he expected that he would be assigned a public defender soon.
Bruner, 38, had been staying with his wife at the Eagle’s Motel, at 80 Tanglewood Drive about 2.2. miles west of Taylorsville, just before his arrest. His wife’s name has not been made available by police.
Police said Bruner had picked up Escareno, who was walking, and given her a ride just before the assault. The two did not know each other.
Escareno’s family and friends, who continue to keep a vigil by her bedside at the University of Louisville Hospital, said she is fighting a meningitis-type infection.
“We’re getting ready to head out to UofL to see Denisse,” Riddle said. “It would be wonderful to have some great news for Thanksgiving, and we are hoping for a good report, but I’ll just settle for her getting over the infection and not having any kind of setback.”
Riddle said that not knowing what the future will bring is very difficult for the family to bear, especially at the holidays.
“Waiting for her to wake up, and just trying to go on with our everyday lives at the same time, it’s really hard,” she said. “We hope she will wake up by Thanksgiving, but we just don’t know if that’s a prayer that will be answered.”
Contributions to Denisse Escareno