MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A woman who nearly died after being stabbed in a Minneapolis parking ramp by a stranger wearing a business suit is regaining her strength by sharing her story.
For the first time, 28-year-old Angela Champagne-From is talking about the horrifying moments last spring when she was somehow able to fight off her attacker, call 911, and save her life before things went dark.
A while ago, 23 senior girls sitting in this Spring Lake Park High School classroom were lucky enough to find out why fighting like a girl is something they should be proud of.
“My name is Angela and I think fighting like a girl saves your life,” Champagne-From said.
On April 19, 2012, Champange-From left work just before 4 p.m. in a rush to get to school on time.
She hurried to her car on the fourth floor of a parking ramp in downtown Minneapolis, but someone was lurking in the shadows.
“I set my purse down, and I was going to get in and there was someone behind me with a knife to my throat,” she said.
He told her they were going for a ride.
But he likely didn’t expect what happened next. Champagne-From grabbed at the knife — cutting her own hand — and then started fighting back.
“I immediately screamed and stomped on his feet,” she said. “I bit him so hard that it moved my gums in my mouth. At that point he removed the knife from my throat and he stabbed me in the abdomen.”
The 10-inch knife went through her liver and her adrenal gland, and almost came out her back. She was losing a lot of blood, but still she kept fighting.
Suddenly, everything stopped and she made eye contact with her attacker.
“And I looked up and I saw a white man in a business suit, with a receding hairline holding a large hunting knife covered in my blood,” she said. “I offered all my personal belongings and he just told me that I was lucky I was a fighter. And he just turned around and ran away.”
She called 911. The following is the 911 call recording: “I was stabbed! I was in the parking ramp! Someone is trying to mug me! Please help me! … ‘What address are you at?’ … I was just stabbed! I’m blacking out!”
Champagne-From recounted the rest.
“I went up to the tollbooth — you can see the blood — and I ended up collapsing right here,” she said.
Because of her stab wound, 40 percent of the blood in her’s body was in her abdomen. She remembers waking up in the hospital and wondering where her attacker was.
He’s Robert John Meyers, 48, and Champagne-From was not his first victim.
Years ago in Iowa he dressed up as a doctor, kidnapped a woman, and raped her. He served five years in prison.
Two weeks before he attacked Champagne-From, he dressed up as a college student, exposed himself to a young woman at the U of M and tried to attack her.
After assaulting Champagne-From on April 19, 2012, Meyers stole a woman’s purse at a bar. That helped lead police to his home where the evidence was easy to find.
“My DNA is on the sleeve right there,” Champagne-From said.
A couple weeks ago, a judge sentenced Meyers to 20 years in prison for his attack on Champagne-From.
At the hearing, Meyers apologized and told the court that his terrible childhood made him an angry person who “hated the female gender.”
Now, for the very first time, with her family watching, Champagne-From shared her message of “fighting like a girl” with a self-defense class at Spring Lake Park High School.
It’s the same class where she learned how to fight back 12 years ago.
“I have lots of scarring on my abdomen now, and I call them my badges of honor,” she said.
Afterward, it was clear her message had hit home.
“I like that she was able to speak about it,” instructor Bill Neiss said. “I don’t like that she had to go through it.”
Neiss is the very same man who taught Angela.
Now, he’s one of her biggest fans.
“You come back stronger and say, ‘Ladies, you don’t have to take this,'” he said. “There are some options. There are some things you can do to protect yourself.”
After Champagne-From got out of the hospital, her boyfriend Adam From proposed and the two were married in December.
“It really affected me knowing that she could have been taken away,” From said.
Champagne-From spent six days in the hospital with her future husband at her side the whole time. At their wedding, she held a locket with a picture of Dru Sjodin in it.
Dru Sjodine was kidnapped from a mall parking lot in Grand Forks and murdered nearly 10 years ago. Champagne-From has gotten to know Sjodin’s mother pretty well since her attack.
You can learn more about Champagne-From’s survival story on her Facebook page.
It’s called “Fight Like a Girl.”
Champagne-From plans to continue to share her story to inspire young women to fight like a girl just like she did.
“I’m ready to tell my story,” she said. “I’m ready to share. I’m ready to touch the hearts of as many people as I can.”