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EARLIER: Suspect arrested in case of woman by road

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Spencer man charged; woman still in coma

By Lisa King

  Taylorsville man has been arrested and charged with assaulting a woman who was found lying on the side of Mount Eden Road 11 days ago.

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Mark L. Bruner, 38, is lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center, charged with first-degree assault of Denisse Escareno.

Escareno, 24, of Shelbyville has not awakened and has remained in critical condition at the University of Louisville Hospital since she was taken there after being discovered on the afternoon of Nov. 5 by passersby about two miles south of Interstate 64.

One of the people who found her described her horrific condition including puncture wounds in her legs, and until now it was thought that those injuries were caused by a severe beating.

But Shelby County Police Det. Eric Hettinger said Tuesday that at least part of her horrendous wounds were caused when she jumped from a moving vehicle to escape from what was going on in the car.

“They didn’t know each other; he just offered her a ride,” Hettinger said, adding that Bruner had cooperated with the investigation. “He stabbed her twice in the vehicle, and she jumped out.”

Hettinger said Escareno was not robbed, and there was no evidence that she was sexually assaulted.

She was transported to Jewish Hospital Shelbyville and from there airlifted to UofL.

Hettinger said the arrest came after some tips from the public and some good police work by deputies.

Bruner offered no resistance when taken into custody at 2:50 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at his home in Taylorsville.

Family members of Escareno could not be reached for comment, but her aunt, Krissi Tipton, who spoke to a reporter last week, expressed gratitude on her Facebook page to law enforcement for apprehending a suspect.

“Thank you, Jesus, for allowing them to catch that SOB that hurt my girl!!!” she wrote.

She had told The Sentinel-Newslast week that Escareno has shown some slight improvement had not regained consciousness.

Her updates on her condition on her Facebook page said that is still the case. She continues to ask for prayers for Escareno’s recovery.

A cousin, Sharon Cutshaw-Miles, wrote, “It’s the courtroom where justice fails. Let’s hope and pray this Bruner guy doesn’t walk.”

Hettinger said the charge of first-degree assault could change if Escareno’s condition changes for the worse. He added Bruner is the only suspect in the case.

Bruner’s bond had not been established as of early Tuesday evening.