MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The family of a woman stabbed in the neck 15 times while working at a Myrtle Beach Dunkin Donuts Tuesday is still trying to piece together why it happened.
The victim’s step-mother told News13 her step-daughter Brittany Tyler was working at the store on North Kings Highway on Tuesday when she was stabbed.
“You get a phone call at work and find out that the news article you just read was [about] your kid,” said Anne Hanzel-Tyler, Brittany’s step-mother. “It was heart-stopping.”
Hanzel-Tyler and Brittany’s dad, Chip, didn’t know if Brittany was going to be OK.
“Chip and I were both terrified for the first 24 hours because we didn’t know if she was gonna make it or not,” Hanzel-Tyler said. “Thank goodness she did.”
Officers arrested 42-year-old Nikema Cheatham on charges in connection with the stabbing, including attempted murder. Hanzel-Tyler said the stabbing was out of the blue, and the family is still trying to process it all.
“I’m pretty sure I levitated to the hospital — my heart stopped,” Hanzel-Tyler said. “And I know Chip’s did as well, the both of us were just so afraid we lost our girl.”
Facing severe physical injuries and emotional trauma — and unsure when she’ll be able to work again — Hanzel-Tyler said she wonders when Tyler will be back to her old self.
“It’s hard to think that you might not be able to go to work and be safe in your own hometown,” Hanzel-Tyler said. “So if we pull together as a community and we support each other, it makes it feel a little bit safer.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for medical and other expenses. As of Monday afternoon, more than $11,000 has been raised.
“I did just talk to Brittany right before [I did this interview], and she told me to say that she thanks everyone so very much for the love and support,” Hanzel-Tyler said. “This has taken a lot of stress off of her, which helps her focus on healing.”
The family is relieved that Cheatham is behind bars. She was denied bond at a court hearing last week.
“Knowing that somebody that’s that dangerous, and that violence is not able to hurt anyone else right now makes us feel a lot better,” Hanzel-Tyler said. “I don’t know if any of us will be able to sleep if you weren’t in jail right now.”
The family is hopeful that Brittany will be out of the hospital soon and a lot of her recovery can be done at home.