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Family of Second Young Santa Monica Woman Pleads for Help After Violent Episodes

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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

March 5, 2018 -- Leigh Collins awoke to a knife-wielding attacker late last month in her Santa Monica apartment on the 1700 block of 5th Street. Four days later, police announced they’d arrested Rashad Devon Harris, 25, in the crime.

But with Collins still hospitalized after multiple stabbings and other injuries from the February 23 home invasion, her family has embarked on a path similar to one trod just a few weeks earlier by a desperate Santa Monica father facing huge hospitals bills after his young daughter also was attacked by an assailant.

In the case of Collins, an aunt launched a gofundme campaign to raise money and keep friends and relatives apprised of her niece’s recovery.

As of Sunday, the gofundme page had raised $19,690.

The page includes a video from the young woman in which she details the attack by the suspect who woke her from sleep after entering her apartment and repeatedly stabbed her with her own kitchen knife ("Woman Stabbed Multiple Times During Home Invasion in Santa Monica," February 23, 2018).

“He wanted money,” she said in the video. “I gave him money and he tried to rape me.”

Collins says she was able to fight her attacker off, but in the fight was hit –- a black eye is clear in the video -- and stabbed multiple times.

“He cut off a good part of my ring finger” and part of the “pinkie.” Surgeons, however, were able to re-attach the fingers, she said.

Speaking from her hospital bed, the young woman describes the violent attack in detail.

But it isn’t until the end of the video that her voice quivers and she seems to fight back tears.

At that point, she is talking about the family and friends who have surrounded her since the accident.

“As scary as it was, I came out on the winning side,” the young woman says in the video. “I am loved.”

Only a few weeks earlier, a desperate father from Santa Monica had taken the same route after an assailant slammed his daughter's head onto the pavement multiple times in what was also reported as a sexual assault.

Faced with tens of thousands of dollars not covered by his health insurance, Rick Wilson went to gofundme to help pay for the hospitalization of his 23-year-old daughter, Taylor, who suffered extensive damage to her jaw and teeth during the January 17 assault ("Father Pleads for Financial Help After Daughter Hospitalized in 'Brutal' Incident in Santa Monica," February 23, 2018).

Police are still investigating the incident, which occurred at 5:14 a.m. on the 900 block of 11th street.

As of Sunday, the gofundme campaign for Taylor Wilson was listed as complete and no longer active. It received donations totaling $8,471, the page said. Within the first three days, 75 people had contributed $3,523.


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