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Woman Recovering After Son Stabs Her

POCOLA, Okla. (AP) _ A 69-year-old woman continues to recover from her wounds after being stabbed numerous times by her son, authorities said.

Betty Warlick was taken to Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith, Ark., where police said she underwent surgery for wounds to her abdomen, chest, throat and arms.

Warlick had been stabbed repeatedly with a 5-inch folding knife on Thursday by her son, Johnny Keith Ragsdale, police allege. Ragsdale, 46, who also was taken to a Fort Smith hospital for treatment of cuts, has a history of mental illness, police said.

Police Sgt. Jason Sargent said Ragsdale was later transferred to the Sebastian County Detention Center in Fort Smith, where he awaits extradition to Oklahoma.

Officers went to Warlick's residence about 7:45 a.m. Thursday after she called and told them her son had stabbed her, Sargent said.

When Pocola Police Chief Eric Helms arrived, he saw Ragsdale running from the house, covered in blood. After a brief foot chase, Sargent and Helms handcuffed Ragsdale, according to the affidavit.

Helms then found Warlick bleeding heavily in her living room as her 79-year-old husband, Jim, attended to her, the affidavit states.

Helms said Betty Warlick also told him Ragsdale had just switched medication for his mental illness.

``(The son) had deep lacerations to his fingers and top of head. It's still under investigation, but we believe the son (stabbed himself),'' Sargent said.

Betty Warlick told police she was outside with her son and husband when the incident occurred.

``I just walked up to where (Ragsdale) and Jim was in the yard at the flowers and the next thing I know Johnny's running at me and stabbed me,'' according to the affidavit. She said her son kept stabbing her until Jim Warlick, who is Ragsdale's stepfather, tried to grab the knife.

Warlick sustained cuts to his hands but his intervention allowed his wife to run inside and call the police.

LeFlore County First Assistant District Attorney Marion Fry said Ragsdale would have to be extradited back to Oklahoma to face charges of assault and battery with intent to kill and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

``If he waives extradition, generally we have about 10 days to go get him,'' Fry said.
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