Marianne Clift was attacked in her bed while on vacation in Mexico less than two weeks ago and left beaten, stabbed and robbed, but the 68-year-old Sarnia woman fought back and made it home alive and unbowed.
Church organist. Retired school teacher. Snowbird in Mexico. “Warrior woman.”
A Sarnia senior is recounting with a bit of pride how she battled back against an attacker who left her stabbed and robbed – but unbowed – inside the Mexican holiday home she’d rented.
“Imagine — 68 years old, two months away from 69, and I fought off an attacker,” said Marianne Clift. “I’m a warrior woman.”
Clift was attacked in her bed while on vacation in Mexico – among the most popular travel destinations for all Canadians – two weeks ago and left beaten, stabbed and robbed. But the snowbird from Sarnia fought back and survived the violent ordeal.
The aggressive reaction may sound surprising for a former elementary school teacher who’s pushing 70 and volunteers as a church organist – but the attacker clearly didn’t know who he was dealing with. Clift has studied Taekwando in the past and her instincts kicked in as she scratched and clawed at her attacker’s face in an attempt to break free.
“I thought I was having a nightmare,” Clift recalled. “I started kicking like mad.”
Clift was alone in the vacation home she and her husband rented in Bucerias, Mexico, a community of 17,000 residents near Puerto Vallarta, when the attack happened. The house is surrounded by a 12-foot fence and a cousin lives nearby so Clift, a frequent visitor to Mexico, felt safe.
But with her husband back home in Sarnia on a short business trip, Clift awoke in the early hours of Feb. 18 to a man straddling her on the bed, choking her with his hands. She recalls hearing a women’s voice, leading her to believe two people were in the house.
When the man loosened his grip on her throat briefly, Clift screamed for help – and she was then “knocked out” by a punch in the face. When she regained consciousness, the house was empty and Clift staggered to the bathroom, where she saw her bloodied and bruised face in the mirror.
“I realized I had to get help.”
She looked for her cellphone but it was gone, along with her money, keys to the vacation home, jewelry, other electronics and a purse with her bank cards, passport and other identification.
The bedside table drawers were on the floor of the bedroom and a knife from the kitchen had been left there, too.
Unable to open the exterior fence without the keys, Clift banged on another tenant’s door. She then walked to her cousin’s nearby home and called police.
Clift received six stitches at the hospital to close the knife wound on her cheek. She was also bruised on her chest and arm, and there was a second knife wound on her elbow.
Police investigators told her the attacker had climbed over the fence and used a screw driver to break in through the locked front door.
“When they saw the amount of blood in the house it was moved up to an attempted murder and robbery,” Clift said.
“My eyes teared up and I started crying.”
Clift said it was hard for her family back in Canada when they heard what happened, particularly since they couldn’t be there with her.
She found a safe place to stay for the few days it took to deal with police reports and secure a temporary passport, with help from the Canadian consulate, to fly home.
The stitches came out Monday and her black eye has faded but her neck remains bruised. Her jaw also hasn’t fully recovered from the blow that knocked her out.
Clift said she doesn’t expect police in Mexico will find her attackers.
“I’m a nobody,” she said. “I’m just a tourist.”
Sitting with relatives this week in Sarnia, she laughed at times, and also cried, while retelling the story of the attack.
“We’re a tough, resilient family,” she said. “I have nothing but gratitude to be alive.”
The Mazatlan Post