‘Tessa is the Strongest Person I Know’: Woman Survives Horrific Attack, Saved by Strangers



Authorities in Tennessee report that a husband stabbed his wife and set her on fire, but her life was saved by Good Samaritans, according to her family. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) alleges that 28-year-old Zachary Mowel attacked his wife, Tess Trotter, on the evening of July 1.

Responding to the scene, authorities found Tess suffering from multiple stab wounds and immediately transported her to the hospital. Mowel was subsequently arrested by TBI agents on charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated arson, aggravated assault (domestic-related), and domestic assault. It is not immediately clear if Mowel has entered pleas to the charges or retained an attorney.

The victim, identified by her family as Tess Trotter, was attacked in front of the couple’s young children, who were “watching and pleading” for the assailant to stop, according to her sister, Tori Trotter. Tori shared this information on a GoFundMe page launched to help offset medical bills.

Tina Trotter, Tess’s mother, told WSMV that two people happened upon the house fire while looking into an item they had seen on Facebook Marketplace. These Good Samaritans put out the fire that had engulfed Tess, saving her life.

“God bless you, and I will reach out to you once my family finds out who you are,” Tina told the outlet. “Our family is so grateful for y’all because I wouldn’t have her today.”Police documents filed in court and cited by WKRN revealed that Mowel approached an officer at the scene and confessed, saying, “I did it. It was me.”

The GoFundMe page further details the severity of Tess’s injuries. She was paralyzed from the waist down and sustained third-degree burns, and nine stab wounds, and all of her ribs were broken in the attack. Her sister, Tori, wrote, “Tessa is the strongest person I know, and [she] and her boys did not deserve this torture!”

The horrific incident has left the family devastated, yet grateful for the bravery of the strangers who intervened. The community has rallied around Tess and her family, providing support and donations to help cover her medical expenses.

As Tess fights to recover, her story is a poignant reminder of both the capacity for human cruelty and the incredible impact of kindness from strangers. The family’s gratitude towards the Good Samaritans who saved Tess is profound, and they hope to connect with these heroes to personally thank them for their life-saving actions.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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