James Carlos Melendrez has been identified as the 25-year-old man who stabbed and attempted to kill 42-year-old mother-of-two Marylou Villalobos Palos in Lake Forest, California.
According to California authorities, Marylou Villalobos Palos was stabbed by Melendrez 20 times after he broke into the apartment that she shares with her two teenage daughters.
After breaking into the home, Melendrez grabbed a knife and began chasing Marylou Villalobos Palos.
Harrowing security camera footage recorded at another home shows Marylou Villalobos Palos running down the street, screaming “he’s trying to kill me” as Melendrez chased her.
After running for her life, a passing-by cyclist eventually stopped to help Palos by pepper-spraying the deranged Melendrez.
However, it is because of Palos’ quick thinking that saved her two teenage daughters: 15-year-old Evelyn and 13-year-old Elizabeth.
“She did save our lives,” says Elizabeth Palos said to CBS, “that’s an awesome thing. My mom is the best. I love her so much. I’m grateful to have a mom like that.”
Melendrez has since been arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, felony hit-and-run, and carjacking.
Despite the extensive stab wounds, Palos is expected to recover and is being treated at a local hospital.
Police say that in addition to breaking into Marylou Villalobos Palos’ home and stabbing her, Melendrez stole a BMW, hit a woman in her 50s with the stolen vehicle, and tried to break into another home and carjack additional people.
Following his arrest, Melendrez was taken to jail where he is currently being held on a $2 million bail.
At this time, police said that they were investigating whether or not Melendrez was either on drugs or has a mental illness.
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