‘We have been deriving strength from her,’ father of Apex machete attack victim says

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A protective order was issued Friday to keep the suspect in a brutal January machete attack in Apex away from the victim.

Nineteen-year-old Neel Mehta is accused of attacking Priyanka Kumari, 18, with a large machete around 3 p.m. on Jan. 12 in front of a residence on Venezia Way.

CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS OF MEHTA AND THE SCENE
CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS OF MEHTA AND THE SCENE

Kumari’s father said she suffered 46 injuries to her face and head alone. She suffered more injuries to her hands and may never have full use of them again.

The protective order issued today is in effect until Feb. 3, 2018.

Kumari’s dad, Pankaj Kumar, said he isn’t worried about having to have that order enforced because he said that Mehta, “will be staying in jail for a long time.”

Kumar said the order “provides more peace of mind” for he and his family more than anything else.

He said his daughter is “mentally strong but physically beat right now”

“She’s had more swelling in her hands and it is a long journey before she fully recovers but is on the path to recovery,” he added. “We have been deriving strength from her and it’s very hard to cope with all of this. I have had bad dreams. I woke up this morning with a lot of sweats. It happens every day.”

Pankaj Kumar said he doesn’t watch TV or read the newspaper because he doesn’t want to see Mehta.

He described his experiencing seeing Mehta in court Friday.

“There were a lot of heavy thoughts and I just want to get away from here,” he said.

The attorney for the suspect also spoke after court.

Attorney David Coolidge said the protective order merely keeps the two parties apart.

The protective order was not issued on previous domestic violence issues, Coolidge said.

“There were no findings of domestic violence by the judge at this time,” he said.

Coolidge said Mehta’s family sends their prayers to Priyanka and her family.

“They are obviously very sad at this point,” he said.

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