MEXICO — A South Carthage woman remained behind bars on Saturday, charged with elevated aggravated assault in Friday night’s brutal beating of a Mexico woman.

After turning herself in to police following the assault, Jennifer Hodgkins, 28, formerly of Peru, was taken to Oxford County Jail in Paris where she remained, unable to post $5,000 cash bail, said Chief James Theriault of the Mexico Police Department.

Theriault said Hodgkins attacked victim Sharon Gardner at about 6:15 p.m. with a foot-long, wooden police baton while Gardner was standing off Main Street beside the fire station.

“Gardner was struck four times, twice in the head and twice in an arm, we think,” Theriault said. “The charge is considered aggravated because (Hodgkins) used a weapon.”

The savage attack, which Theriault said was seen by three witnesses, rendered Gardner unresponsive.

“The witnesses, they saw everything that happened, and two of them knew who (Hodgkins) was,” Theriault said.

Police quickly radioed an alert to authorities in the vicinity to watch for a red 1995 Ford Probe, which is registered to Hodgkins, the chief said.

After the attack, one or more on-duty Mexico firefighters secured the scene and immediately called Paris dispatchers for an ambulance.

Med-Care Ambulance took Gardner to Rumford Hospital, from which the critically injured woman was flown by medical helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Theriault said he learned early Saturday morning that Gardner suffered no skull fractures or brain swelling and was sitting up in bed and talking clearly.

“So, she will probably come home,” he said.

A CMMC nursing supervisor said Saturday night that Gardner was no longer there.

Theriault described the motive for the attack as “bizarre.”

“It was like a custody thing over a 6-year-old boy that the grandmother (Gardner) has custody over,” he said.

“The ex-boyfriend of the victim was living with (Hodgkins), who did the beating of grammy, and (Hodgkins) thought the boyfriend should have the kid, because the boyfriend lived with grammy for 10 years,” Theriault said.

“But the boyfriend, he didn’t have any legitimate right to have the kid,” the chief said. “It was a screwed-up mess.”

Throughout the incident, the child was in a safe location and wasn’t in danger of being abducted, Theriault said.

The ex-boyfriend, who was unaware the attack had taken place, arrived on the scene later but was asked to leave, Theriault said.

Because Mexico police didn’t know whether Gardner would succumb to her injuries during the LifeFlight trip to Lewiston, Theriault said he turned the investigation over to Maine State Police.

They sent five detectives to the scene Friday night, conducted interviews and arrested Hodgkins, Theriault said.

State police spokesman Stephen McCausland was unavailable on Saturday night.

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