TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Ashley Speer says June 23, 2010 started out as a relaxing summer day. Little did she know, what was about to transpire would leave her in an intensive care unit with four stab wounds.
Ashley’s husband, Mike, slept after working an overnight shift. Ashley had pulled some weeds and decided to watch a movie, while the couple’s one-month-old son rested in the living room.
That’s when, there was a knock at the door. “There was a lady there, ” Ashley says. “Asking if she could use the phone, and so I said yes and invited her in.”
Back in 2010, most people still relied on landline phones. It was not uncommon for a stranger who needed help to stop and ask to use it. Plus the woman, Stephanie Foster, appeared to be nine months pregnant. Foster used the phone, went to bathroom and left. But then, she came back and asked to use the phone again.
“She came around the side of the couch and said, ‘I couldn’t get a hold of them and I’m really sorry to do this,’ and pulled a gun out. She put that in my face while simultaneously pulling a knife out,” Ashley remembers.
Ashley did what Foster told her to as she continued to make eye contact. When Foster looked away, Ashley made her move. The two women fought. Foster stabbed Ashley four times. Mike Speer heard his wife scream.
“I heard the scream for a long time, that was probably one of the hardest things to get over,” Mike says.
Mike also scuffled with Foster, and was injured. He held her down, while Ashley called 9-1-1. It was only then the couple learned Foster wanted their baby.
According to Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modisett, Foster was having marital problems and was desperate.
“She felt like it would make her husband happy if she got pregnant and had a child,” Vigo County Prosecutor Terre Modesitt recounts. “She faked her pregnancy, and she then got to the end and told her family she was going to be induced and now her lies came to the point, she was going to be exposed”
Modesitt says Foster would scan birth announcement in the local newspaper and tracked down the Speers.
He spoke about Ashley’s injuries, “She had a chipped vertebra. Her lung was collapsed. She had scars as a result of it. She had nerve damage, so significant injuries as a result of this.”
Besides physical scars, the couple had to overcome emotional injuries.
“There was a lot of bitterness for a longtime. There was a lot of,” Ashley pauses.
“Fear,” her husband adds.
“And a lot of bafflement. Why?,” Ashley says.
The couple leaned on their faith and each other. They eventually welcomed a second child.
“This horrible incident has brought us close together and made our family closer together,” Mike states. “This was a horrible thing to go through, but we’ve benefitted so much in the aftermath of it.”
As for Foster, Prosecutor Modesitt provided no leniency.
“I just remember how horrific the facts were of this case because we were dealing with a young couple, who just had their child and the horror of someone trying to take your child and hurting the mother,” Modesitt says.
Stephanie Foster speaks to mywabashvalley.com in 2012
Foster was sentenced to 28 years in prison. According to the Indiana Department of Corrrection, with credit time for good behavior, she’s set to be released in December 2023.
The crime of abducting an infant is more common than you might think. According to the “National Center for Missing and Exploited Children”, 329 infant abductions have occurred over the last 5 decades. The organization reports, close to half of those babies were taken from the child’s home.