LONGMONT, Colo. - Community members gathered for a candle light vigil Sunday after a Appalachian State University graduate was violently attacked in Colorado.
Police say a woman lured Michelle Wilkins, 26, to her home using a Craigslist Ad for baby clothes. According to police, the suspect cut Wilkins unborn child out of her.
Wilkins attended Appalachian State University between 2006 and 2011 and made a number of connections in the community.
"There's a long road of recovery ahead and we want to show our strength and support for her," said Rachael Salmon, who helped organize the vigil.
"She's got a lifetime of dealing with this ahead of her," one man said.
A vigil was also held in Colorado Sunday night.
Michelle Wilkins was identified by her family as the woman who had her baby cut from her stomach in an attack in Colorado.
Wilkins was seven months pregnant when she responded to a Craigslist ad for baby clothes in Longmont, Colorado. Police said she was stabbed in the stomach and her baby was removed.
Wilkins, 26, underwent surgery and is expected to recover after the bizarre attack. The baby died.
“It's almost like a horror movie,” said Tony Wilkins, Wilkin’s cousin. “Who would think that something like this would actually occur in real life? And when we got the call early the other morning it was like it just can't be.”
Dynel Lane showed up at the Colorado hospital with the baby, claiming she had a miscarriage, authorities said.
Wilkins has ties to North Carolina. She is from the Raleigh area.
She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2011 with a degree in sustainable development. She returned to ASU in the fall 2014, enrolling in studio art.
Quint David who went to school with Wilkins at ASU was stunned by the nature of the attack.
"Been (in) shock really,” David said. “I knew Michelle when she was in school here at ASU. I guess it is just so surprising and completely unbelievable. It was hard to even know it was true."
David, a town councilman, said Wilkins was outgoing and involved in several leadership initiatives involving her studies at the university. His thoughts are with her and her family.
"If you can keep Michelle and her family in your prayers,” David said. “Know that there is a large community here in Boone and out in Colorado that will be looking after her."
Lane is facing charges and is in jail under a $2 million bond.
Facebook post eerily predicted brutal Colorado fetus theft in January
A doula active on a private Facebook page for breastfeeding mothers eerily warned that the Longmont woman suspected of cutting a pregnant woman to steal her baby showed warning signs before the attack, the TheDenverChannel reported.
The suspect, Dynel Lane, was arrested Wednesday night after allegedly luring 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins with a Craigslist ad, then cutting her and cutting her seven-month-old fetus out of her woumb.
Friends of Lane and her husband had wondered if her supposed pregnancy was a lie.
One friend of Lane’s husband even discussed her on the breasfeeding moms' Facebook page, seeking advice, according to the report:
"Non bf (breastfeeding) advice needed - I have a friend whose wife is pregnant and he confided on (sic) my fiancé that she refuses to go to the doctor. Her whole pregnancy has been sketchy…She supposedly had a hysterectomy but then got pregnant (which I know CAN happen) and she wouldn't let him go to the doctors with her. Then she was supposedly due mid November then mid December. Here it is mid January and still no baby…I'm confused. Is it considered child endangerment if she won't go to the doctor? I don't know how long it's been but her husband is concerned."
The doula, Elizabeth Petrucelli, specializes in bereavement and is trained to interpret those signs. She did not mince words in her reply.
"This is a RED FLAG for me. She may be attempting to find someone whom she can 'get' a baby from in order to present this to her husband. I know this is all 'conspiracy theory-like' but this should be taken seriously. If she is claiming to be pregnant but has had a hysterectomy, she has an 'ectopic' pregnancy which would require medical intervention in order for the baby to survive AND mom to survive. She has likely made this up, maybe because she is grieving her lost uterus and the fact that she can no longer carry a baby in her womb.
"My concern would be for any pregnant woman being around her because if she is desperate, she may do the unmentionable and harm the mother and take the baby."
Read our past coverage:
Vigil held for App State grad who had baby cut from womb
Police: Nurse practitioner accused of prescription fraud in Mooresville
Man robs Gastonia store with clerk's daughter outside
Second arrest made in double shooting that left woman dead
Hickory to pay $3.5M to man exonerated after 24 years in prison