WOONSOCKET – Family members of domestic violence victim Catherine Salvi say her condition has taken a dramatic turn for the worse at Rhode Island Hospital.
Mary Salvi said her doctors have informed the family that her daughter would stop breathing if she were taken off a respirator.
“They’re going to do one more test,” said a subdued Salvi, her voice trailing off. “We’ve never had to do something like this before.”
Catherine turned 24 on Dec. 10, three days before an attack at the hands of her boyfriend left her with severe head injuries, the police say. Emmanuel Algaria, 21, remains held in lieu of bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions on one count of felony domestic assault.
“We are watching the situation very closely,” said Detective Jamie Paone.
Part of Catherine’s heartbreaking story is playing out on the website gofundme.com, where friends have set up an online fundraiser to help Catherine, who has a 2-year-old son, Davian.
More than $1,300 had been raised for the Catherine Salvi Fund as of yesterday morning. Some of the donations come from friends who leave their names, others are made anonymously, and some are from total strangers who were touched by Catherine’s plight.
“Sorry I don’t know yu (sic) but yu seem like a strong girl and have great friends/family here for yu,” wrote Cornie Wilson. “We’ll all pray for yu and yur son.”
Monica Linares Garcia, who runs the Mane Spot Salon, where Salvi used to have her hair done every Friday, has a collection jar set up on the counter of the spa, located at 30 Main St. She’s also selling bracelets and donating $5 to the fund for everyone who comes in for an eyebrow wax.
No matter what happens, said Linares-Garcia, Salvi’s family is going to need help with medical expenses and the cost of caring for Salvi’s boy.
Garcia Linares seemed stunned by how quickly Salvi’s condition deteriorated.
“She was doing so well and then all of a sudden there was a turnaround,” she said.
The Mane Spot is the salon where a group of friends joined together under the banner of “Team Kathy” to shave their heads in a show of solidarity with Catherine, who liked to be called Kathy – with a “K.” Catherine was meticulous about fashion and would have been aghast to awaken in the hospital to find her head shaven, so her friends changed their appearance to match hers.
No Rhode Island arrest records show up on the judiciary’s web site to indicate there was a history of domestic violence between Algaria and Salvi, who had been together more than three years, friends say.
But Garcia Linares said women in violent relationships should take Salvi’s example as a warning.
“There’s other girls out there who need to see, they think they’re going to make it,” she said. “Whether it’s a push or a punch, they need to open their eyes and understand, it’s not worth it.”
Because Salvi’s condition could change, the police say the investigation into the Dec. 13 assault that left her comatose is open. Therefore, police say they are withholding details of exactly how Salvi’s injuries were caused on what their nature was.
Paone said the attack occurred on the third floor of 316 Manville Road, where Salvi, Algaria and their son lived upstairs from her parents.
“Obviously it was a violent struggle and there was a violent assault in the apartment,” she said.
While Algaria was never charged by the Woonsocket police with assaulting Salvi before, Paone said he was charged with assaulting a police officer after a motor vehicle stop less than two weeks before he attacked Salvi.
A police officer stopped Algaria’s motor vehicle on Dec. 1 because his rearview mirror was obstructed by “several large objects,” Paone said. After the stop, Algaria allegedly kicked the officer during a struggle.
Algaria was also arrested two times in 2012, once for discharging a firearm in a populated area in the Fairmount section. Paone said the police did not seize a firearm when they investigated the incident, but they recovered several spent .22-caliber shell casings.
Algaria later pleaded no contest and was given a year’s probation.
The Woonsocket police also arrested Algaria for first offense drunk driving in September 2012.
A mini-biography on the gofundme.com site says Salvi is a native of Milford, Mass., who moved to Woonsocket when she was 12. She and Algaria met three and a half years ago, and they had Davian two years ago.
“They started their own life together and had their own home, which held their secrets for no one knew what was happening,” the site says. “Then on December 13th he assaulted her and she is now at Rhode Island Hospital in critical condition, fighting for her life to be able to be with her son once more.”
Though domestic assault is one of the most commonly reported crimes in the city, no one has been killed as a result of a domestic homicide since March 2009. David Leite is serving life for second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Melissa Perry, 32, in their apartment on Ormond Street.