Teen suspected high on pot and mushrooms charged with attempted murder

BELLINGHAM -- It happened just after 4:30am Saturday morning in a house on Saint Clair Street.

A 44-year-old woman was inside her home when she heard noises outside. Police say when she opened the door slightly, a 16-year-old boy forced his way inside. The woman found herself in a fight, not just for her own life - but for the life of her child as well who was sleeping upstairs.

"She confronted him to stop him and she got shoved down the stairs," Bellingham Police lieutenant Rick Sucee said. "He started punching her in the face many times and then he kept banging her head into the floor."

Police say the teen then strangled the woman with a cord and left her for dead.

Even though the teen suspect has been caught,  Bellingham resident Mark Ryan - who lives just a few doors down from the alleged victim - worries about such a violent attack, that seems so random, happened so close to his own home.

"That’s scary, I mean real scary. My son just plays at the house with the Christmas lights up there.  He's best friends with those guys," Ryan said. "So scary. Just really too close for home.”

Police received a 911 call about a teenage boy, with no shirt or shoes, yelling inside the Haggen grocery store on Woburn Street. That call came only minutes before the alleged assault on the homeowner.

By the time police arrive at the grocery story, the suspect was gone.

Police say they believe the teen left the grocery store and walked down a nearby public trail to home where the attack happened.

After searching the area, detectives found a pair of pants with a wallet inside and an ID with the suspect's address.

"We went to his home which was about 4 miles away and he was asleep in bed. He was covered with blood, said he was high on marijuana and mushrooms and also said he thought he had killed the woman,” Lt. Sucee said.

Authorities say the victim is going to be OK and was expected to be released from the hospital Monday night.

Mark Ryan is glad this one has a happy ending and he encourages everyone everywhere to look out for their neighbors.

"Just to keep an eye out.  Talk to your neighbors and keep an eye out and educate your kids about what's going on,” Ryan said.

In court Monday, the teen was charged with second-degree attempted murder and burglary. Bail was set at $1 million.

The suspect is due back in court Jan. 24.