Woman survives hatchet attack, endures extensive surgeries and rehab

WARNING: Graphic content

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- It's a harrowing tale of a former homeless woman who was attacked in the most hideous way three years ago and survived.

Virginia Dashkovitz was attacked on July 4, 2013 with a hatchet and left for dead. It's a story of courage and first-rate medical treatment.

Dashkovitz is a mother of four. Her daughter says she raised the kids herself, but then she fell on hard times and became homeless.

A man has been arrested for this terrible crime and Dashkovitz is courageously recovering and putting her life back together.

A little strip of land by the frontage road at Interstate 17 and Camelback is the place Dashkovitz used to call home.

"I got some food, I ate and I went to sleep under the tree. A month later, I woke up in the hospital with my family, with doctors, kind of tied up in bed," said Dashkovitz.

She liked to make flowers out of palms by using a small hatchet and knife. On the night she was attacked, she was laying down by a tree with her hatchet and knife by her side.

Phoenix Police say 24-year-old Joshua Allen Wallace came by, picked up that hatchet and knife and attacked Dashkovitz, hacking her until he nearly killed her -- shedding her blood in the most grotesque way.

"Oh gosh. For starters, the whole left side of her skull.. smashed into her brain. Her eye sockets were shattered, her jaw was severed from her face," said Dashkovitz's daughter, Sabrina Elfstrom.

"When I see it, I get speechless, overwhelmed, every feeling up and down like a bomb, it hits you at one time and you get numb, what's going on, what happened," explained Dashkovitz.

Wallace was arrested earlier this year on aggravated assault and sexual assault charges. Dashkovitz has endured many surgeries and extensive rehab.

"She is doing better than anybody could have expected and continues to fight," said Elfstrom.

Dashkovitz says she is grateful to all the doctors and physical and emotional rehabilitation experts who have helped her over the last three years. She wants to make sure her attacker is dealt with severely by the criminal justice system.