A dazed and confused topless woman rushed toward Robert Maxwell on Tuesday afternoon.
Maxwell had just dropped off a friend at Safe Harbor Inn, a transitional housing facility on Muldoon Road, and he was standing in an upstairs hallway.
“She started walking toward me and saying, ‘I need you to kill me,’” Maxwell said. “I said, ‘What’s wrong, are you OK?’ She started spouting off her rank in the military.”
Unsure what to make of the strange interaction, Maxwell alerted staff members, who went to an apartment occupied by 40-year-old Tracia Hetty Jordan-Sainte.
Jordan-Sainte’s 3-year-old son was lying on the floor covered with blood that came from a slice that ran the length of the front of his neck.
The mother believed she fatally stabbed the boy, and she wanted to die with him, according to charging documents filed Wednesday. Prosecutors allege that Jordan-Sainte reached for a pair of scissors and “made jabbing motions” at her own neck in an attempt to commit suicide.
Staff members wrestled the scissors away from the woman and called emergency responders for help. When paramedics and police arrived shortly after 1 p.m., the boy was clinging to life.
The boy “nodded his head when asked if he was hurt," prosecutors wrote. "He nodded his head again when asked if his mother had hurt him.”
The boy was taken to a hospital where he received emergency, life-saving surgery. He was initially listed in critical condition, which improved to stable by Wednesday when .
His mother was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.
The incident shocked Safe Harbor residents and people with ties to the facility.
“When I found out what happened, I was sick to my stomach,” Maxwell said.
"It's a little frightening because I've got two kids of my own, and wherever I go they go," said Raymond Felix, a resident. "Then this happened. It's scary."
Tom Newins, board chair of Safe Harbor, said the inn is trying to help people find support.
“The big concern for us is to reach out to police chaplains to assist our guests and employees,” Newins said.
During a brief court appearance Wednesday, a judge ordered Jordan-Sainte to be held at the Anchorage Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
In order to secure release she would need a third-party custodian and would be required to stay in Alaska; she would not be allowed to have any contact with her son.
The alleged crimes carry a sentence of five to 99 years.