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Marianne Clift immediately after the attack and a week later. Marianne Clift immediately after the attack and a week later.

Canadian tourist, 68, fights off attacker in Nayarit robbery

'Warrior woman' cites taekwondo and resilience

A 68-year-old woman’s taekwondo skills and resilience saved her life during a home invasion and robbery in a Nayarit beach town.

Canadian visitor Marianne Clift was alone in a vacation home that she and her husband had rented in Bucerias when she was awoken in the early hours of February 18 by a man choking her in her bed.

The retired elementary school teacher and church organist, who had studied taekwondo nearly 20 years prior, said she started “kicking like mad” and scratching and jabbing at the assailant’s face and eyes, but could not cry out because her attacker’s grip was so strong.

Then, Clift said she heard a woman’s voice and the man straddling her responding in Spanish, leading Clift to believe that there were two people in the house. When her attacker briefly loosened his grip, she yelled for help — and then she was knocked out by a punch in the face.

When Clift regained consciousness, her attackers were gone, along with her cellphone, money, passport, identification, bank cards, jewelry and keys to the vacation home. Clift later wondered if she had perhaps been left for dead.

Staggering to the bathroom, Clift saw in the mirror that her eye and cheek were turning purple and blood was gushing from a cut on her cheek.

“I realized I had to get help.”

Unable to open the vacation complex’s front gate without her keys, Clift banged on another tenant’s door. She then walked to the home of a cousin who had a home nearby, where she called police.

Clift received six stitches at the hospital emergency room to close the knife wound on her cheek and was also treated for a second knife wound on her elbow and serious bruising on her chest and arm.

Investigators later told Clift that the attacker had climbed over the fence and used a screwdriver to break in through the locked front door of the home. She recalled that when the police saw the amount of blood in the house, the case was escalated to an attempted murder and robbery.

Clift said that news of her ordeal was especially hard on her family and her husband, who had flown back to their home in Sarnia, Canada, on a short business trip the night before the attack.

Clift found a safe place to stay while she filled out police reports and the Canadian embassy helped her secure a temporary passport and fly home.

Though her stitches came out on Monday and the black eye has faded, Clift’s neck and jaw remain severely bruised from the assault.

A frequent visitor to Mexico, Clift said that up until the attack she and her husband had felt safe in Bucerias, a town of about 17,000, and that their rented vacation home’s 12-foot fence and the proximity of a cousin’s house nearby contributed to their sense of security.

Clift said she does not expect the police to find her attackers.

Back home in Sarnia with her family, Clift said that recounting the story has often led her to laughter as well as tears.

“We’re a tough, resilient family,” the self-described “warrior woman” said.

“I have nothing but gratitude to be alive.”

Source: The Observer (en)

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