Church secretary resumes life after near fatal stabbing

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) Victims of violent crime sometimes never get past the images forever burned in their memories.  A church secretary nearly stabbed to death last May remembers her attack quite well.  But, what's happened to Vickie Jo Mueller since then is a transformation she says only her faith in God could provide.

"The whole thing is a miracle from start to finish," said Vickie Jo Mueller, stabbing survivor.  Mueller makes the statement standing in the same room where she was brutally attacked six months ago.  Once her office, it's now a kitchen.  Blood stained carpet replaced by linoleum.

"Is it difficult when you walk in here?" asked reporter, Diana Davis.  "I was very surprised it's not.  I've just been amazed that I don't have any problems.  I don't have any problems and I know it's my faith."

Mueller made the 911 call herself before passing out the day of the attack.  She'd been stabbed twice in the chest and once in the abdomen by a man asking for gas money. Authorities arrested this man, Roy "Ray" Anthony in connection with the crime.  He's plead not guilty and the case has been continued until December 14th.

"If it goes to trial, it goes to trial," said Mueller.  "I'll handle it."

Church members handled things while she was gone.   They Installed self-locking doors and security cameras on nearly every entrance to the church.

"These two cameras are real close together," said Mueller, pointing at a TV monitor not far from her desk.

A button allows Mueller to buzz people in from the outside.

"For our people who worship here on Sunday morning, the doors are always open," said Rev. Beth Waldrup, senior pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church. "And then when we need to secure during the week, just this area is locked.  Our children are safe because this area is locked."

What used to be the choir room is now Mueller's office and two large windows were installed for a feeling of extra security.

"I have my church family," states Mueller.  "(I) don't know what I would do without them."

Aside from discomfort every now and then, Mueller says she's doing well.  She'll always have scar tissue from a collapsed lung, but pain Mueller says is a reminder that she's still alive.  Her recovery served as a transformation for the church.

"Whenever you get to experience God first hand, it always strengthens your faith," said Rev. Waldrup.  "And that's probably been the best thing for this church in terms of people actually getting to experience God through a horrible, terrible tragedy."

"We can't do anything ourselves without him," said Mueller.

Mueller says her faith is strong and her prayers were answered.  Had her assailant not left when he did, she might not be standing here today.

"He saw my purse and he just grabbed it and ran," said Mueller.  "My prayers are answered, believe me.  Prayers are answered.  Maybe not the way you wanted them to be. Or when you want them to be.  But they will be answered."

Now, after the attack, Mueller does not work Fridays.  It was on Friday that she was attacked as she worked on the church bulletins.  Because of what happened to her, many churches in the area, and around the nation, have re-evaluated security measures for their staff.