Middletown woman seriously injured in attack while trying to help friend

Fundraisers are planned to help keep her business afloat while she recovers.
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 9:56 PM EDT
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - A Middletown woman was seriously injured in a recent attack while trying to help a friend, according to the woman’s family.

A Middletown police officer was patrolling Central Avenue when a man came out yelling at the officer and saying he was in a disturbance with his roommate, police say.

That roommate is Sarah Risner, whom police found semi-conscious with severe injuries to her face and head.

Her best friend, Shana says Risner was letting a friend’s brother—Joshua Speaks—stay with her.

“He fell on hard times and she wanted to give him a chance to get back on his feet,” Shana said.

She explains Speaks lashed out after Risner told him he had to move.

Shana recalls “losing it” when she found out what happened.

“I lost it,” she said. “This is a person that I’ve known for 18 years. Has been in my life and is the next thing to a sister to me.”

Shana says Risner suffered a fractured eye socket and facial lacerations as well as a traumatic brain injury.

“There was so much blood,” she said. “It was traumatizing.”

Risner owns a Middletown pet grooming business called The Pink Poodle Boutique, according to a GoFundMe set up to help with medical expenses and to keep the business going.

“I think it’s honestly imperative Sarah’s wellbeing to know that she has the shop to come back to,” Shana said.

“Monsters do exist, but yet there’s so many good people out there that are willing to help vanquish them.”

Speaks faces felonious assault charges. He is jailed on a $100,000 bond.

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