Victim Relives Horrifying Hatchet Attack

By Eric S. Page and Rory Devine
|  Monday, Dec 14, 2009  |  Updated 5:03 PM PDT
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Cops: Brutal Hatchet Attack Could Be Mistaken Identity

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Home, SUV of Agent Accused in Hatchet Attack Searched

Detectives search an apartment and SUV belonging to a Border Patrol worker accused of attacking an Escondido couple in their home with a hatchet.

Cops: Brutal Hatchet Attack Could Be Mistaken Identity

Four or five other people were inside the home during the attack, including the suspect's estranged wife and a 7-year-old child, according to police.
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A young man who was blinded in a brutal assault last summer took the stand on Monday.

Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Gamalier Rivera is accused of attacking a man and a woman with a hatchet at his estranged wife's home. Rivera is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of torture and two counts of aggravated mayhem.

Chris Anguiano, who is now 20, was struck several times in that attack. The 21-year-old woman he was in bed with was hit in the leg.
 
On Monday, Anguiano testified about his horrifying ordeal at a preliminary hearing.
 
"My life was real good," Anguiano said. "I could see. I was a nurse at the hospital. I enjoyed hanging out with my nursing friends, going to the beach having fun, enjoying life."
 
Anguiano worked at Palomar Hospital, with plans to go to RN school in the fall. For now at least, those hopes are over.

"Now, I'm legally blind, and I need a lot of help to eat, to brush my teeth, to pick out what I'm going to wear. I can't walk unless someone helps me."

The night of the attack, Anguiano heard a dog barking.
 
"Barking and barking -- first thing I remembered," Anguiano said. "I remember reaching onto the window ledge to get my glasses. That's when I felt my first hit."
 
The young man said he was hit first in the front in the collarbone, then he fell on his girlfriend, who was in bed with him.
 
"I rolled over and was wrestling with the attacker and got the bedroom light on," Anguiano said. "That was the last thing I remember doing until I woke up in the hospital."

Police said shortly after the July attack -- which took place in the 800 block of Upas Street in Escondido at about 1:15 a.m. -- that they thought the assaults may have been a case of mistaken identity.

Several other people were inside the home during the attack, including Rivera’s estranged wife. Erika Von Der Heyde, 33, and their 7-year-old daughter, according to police.  Rivera's wife was unhurt in the incident.

The victims told police after the attack that they did not know their attacker.

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