A woman who was allegedly beaten by the father of her nine-month-old son Monday night packed her bags Friday and left town. She said she was going into protective custody and is afraid.
Meanwhile, her alleged attacker, Manuel Vargas, continues to elude authorities who have been searching for him since last week. Stephenville Police Captain Jason King said he believes Vargas is no longer in the area.
Jennifer Fain, Vargas’ on-and-off girlfriend, said violence has always been a part of their more than five year relationship. She also said Vargas is not always a bad guy.
“He is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” she said. “When he is on dope, using methamphetamine, he is scary and out of control. When he is sober he is a different, gentle guy.”
Fain said that Vargas used “ice” Monday night before he violently attacked her.
She claims the suspect entered her residence at Riverwalk Townhomes on E. Washington around 9:45 p.m. Monday, despite the protective order barring him from the home.
Fain admitted that she was not as cautious as she should have been since she had not heard from Vargas in about five days.
“I let my dog in and out of the house, so I left the garage door up a foot or two so she could get in,” Fain said. “I went upstairs and forgot to lock the door to the house.”
After finishing a bath, Fain said she heard a knock.
“I didn’t even think about it being Manuel since I hadn’t heard from him in several days,” Fain said. “I shouted downstairs - ‘who is it’ - there was no answer. I went to grab some clothes and when I rounded the corner to head downstairs to see who it was, there was Manuel. He was running up the stairs, screaming.”
Fain said Vargas then grabbed her by the throat and threw her against a window, shouting obscenities and accusations about relations with another man.
“Then he threw me on the floor,” Fain said. “He was in my face screaming. The baby was nearby, scared and crying. Manuel was going crazy.”
She said he began slamming her head on the ground. He continued screaming, proclaiming his love one minute and his hatred the next.
Finally, Fain was able to grab her son and escape to her bedroom. Vargas followed.
“He started strangling me. I don’t mean choking, I mean trying to kill me. He told me it was over and he was taking the baby with him,” Fain said. “I couldn’t breath. Everything went black. My body was shaking. At one point he was pushing up on my head, like he was trying to rip my head off. He said he was going to finish it.”
Over a period of about 30 minutes the violence continued. At one point, the violence spilled out onto the parking lot.
“He knocked me down and started kicking me. He kicked me in the head and stomach several times,” Fain said. “My head hit the curb.”
She said Vargas grabbed their son and was dangling the child, threatening to throw or drop him.
“I was so scared for my son. I reached up to grab him while I was still lying on the curb,” Fain said. “He threw the baby at me. We were just laying there on the curb. He kept kicking me and screaming.”
Finally, a friend of the couple, a male, began hitting Vargas and the two men continued to fight. A battered Fain used the opportunity to escape to a neighbor’s home. Someone called the police.
Fain was taken to Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, where she was treated for a concussion and contusions to her head.
With a description of Vargas and his vehicle, police officers soon spotted the suspect driving erratically through downtown Stephenville. Officers attempted to stop him but he refused. The supervisor on duty decided it was too risky to continue the pursuit so officers were called off.
Vargas’ vehicle was found crashed and abandoned on CR 223 the next morning. Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Steven Marks said it appeared that Vargas lost control after rounding a curve too fast and crashed into a tree.
As she packed her bags Friday, Fain wondered when authorities would locate the man who tried to kill her.
“How could they let him go?” Fain said.