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Woman severely injured in downtown Wichita stabbing continues recovery at home

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 9:01 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - After spending several days in the hospital after being stabbed by a stranger, 22-year-old Autumn Haverkamp is recovering at home, reunited with her family. While thankful to be out of the hospital, there’s still a long road ahead for Haverkamp.

A little more than a week has passed since her life changed forever.

“We were shocked, just terrified when it happened. We have been in recovery mode since then, not really thinking about what’s happening around us, just trying to take care of our daughter,” Autumn’s father, Kris Haverkamp said of the random attack.

Kris and his wife, Melissa Haverkamp are still trying to process a knife attack against their daughter from someone she didn’t know. The attack happened last week as Autumn walked to her car after a night with friends in downtown Wichita.

“She saw it coming. She had the gut reaction. She saw the man across the street. She tried to get to her car faster so he couldn’t pursue her. At that point, he just ran at her. There was nothing she could have done different. She has done everything she was always known to do. She did everything right and this still happened,” Melissa Haverkamp said.

First responders rushed Haverkamp to a local hospital where she underwent emergency surgery. Her liver was lacerated.

“The trauma surgeon did tell us she was very lucky,” Melissa said.

After days in the ICU, Melissa faces the long road to recovery, trying to heal physically with no source of income.

“We expect that she will be out of work for several months at this point,” Kris said. “Medical bills are going to be very high. We don’t know the extent of that right now.”

Friends and family set up a GoFundMe page to help Autumn with medical bills. They say they’re thankful for the community’s support.

Police arrested Jeffrey Elam, suspected in the stabbing, on unrelated warrants. Kansas Department of Corrections records show he’s on parole for aggravated indecent liberties with a child younger than 14.

“It’s very frustrating to know there was a break down in the system somewhere. There [are] people out there so broken they shouldn’t be in society any more. It’s just very disappointing,” Kris said.

Autumn’s family is frustrated, believing the man suspected of attacking her daughter should never have been on parole. They’re promising to do something to prevent more events like this from happening.

“We will be making contact with whoever we can to find out what the process is, where the breakdown is, what changes we need to advocate for to keep people safe down there,” Melissa said.

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