Mar. 24—HAVERHILL — Three weeks after an attack that left a Haverhill woman in an intensive care unit at a Boston hospital and her pregnant daughter recovering from surgery, the man who stands accused of the crime has been indicted by a grand jury.
Jake Kavanaugh, 23, of 15 Fairview Farm Road, was indicted on one count of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, according to Essex County District Attorney Spokeswoman Carrie Kimball.
Police say Kavanaugh drove his car into Janet Blanchard, 54, and her pregnant daughter, Geena Sindoni, 26, while the women were out for a stroll near Blanchard's home on the afternoon of March 3. He then attacked Blanchard with a box cutter, according to a police report.
The women were walking Blanchard's French bulldog, Roxie, and Sindoni's Rottweiler-German shepherd, Riley, when a car driven by Kavanaugh struck Blanchard twice, according to police. Sindoni, who was five months pregnant at the time, was able to run into the woods to nearby Salem, New Hampshire, to find help.
After the crash, Kavanaugh stepped out of the car and used a box cutter to attack Blanchard, stabbing her neck and eyes, the police report states. A Salem, New Hampshire, officer first on the scene said Kavanaugh ignored commands and that his hands and forearms were covered with blood.
Kavanaugh glared at the officer with a "1,000 yard stare," the report states, meaning he had a look of being emotionally far away.
Police said they later questioned Kavanaugh at Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill, but he would not answer or explain what happened. His only statement was, "It's not going to matter," according to the report.
Kavanaugh was driving a 2007 Audi A6 sedan registered to his father, Thomas Kavanaugh, according to police. Jake Kavanaugh had a valid driver's license.
Arraigned for the crime the morning after the attack, Kavanaugh was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital by Haverhill District Court Judge Cesar Archilla.
At the same hearing, defense attorney Timothy Connors said his client waived his right to protest that he is considered a danger to the community. Connors asked the judge to have a court clinician evaluate Kavanaugh for what Connors called "criminal responsibility and competency."
Now that the case has been elevated to Superior Court, the penalties Kavanaugh faces are much harsher.
In the meantime, the community continues to rally around Blanchard and Sindoni as they heal from the physical and emotional wounds they are suffering.
A GoFundMe page to support the victims was set up March 4 by Sarah DiVincentis, a coworker of Blanchard's. To date, it has raised more than $126,000 from relatives, friends and other members of the community. Donations can be made at https://bit.ly/3qiXUeA or by visiting GoFundMe.com and searching for the "Helping Janet" fundraiser.
The money has already assisted with medical bills the family has received as the result of a surgery Sindoni underwent on March 17 to correct injuries to her right ankle, Sindoni said. The surgery went well and she is currently resting at home with relatives. Her unborn baby remains healthy.
"We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation for all of the support we have received from the community and beyond," the family said in a statement earlier this month. "We are truly humbled with the response to the GoFundMe that was created and will be pivotal in aiding with the financial strain that is to come."
While the Blanchard and Sindoni families continue to heal, they are grateful for the opportunity to do so privately.
"We also want to take the time to say thank you for the privacy we have been given that is essential for the emotional wounds Janet and Geena have endured," the statement reads. "It means the world to us."