Lake Forest Woman Stabbed 20 Times During Bizarre Violent Crime Rampage Speaks Out

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A Lake Forest woman who survived being stabbed 20 times during an alleged spate of violent crimes earlier this week is recovering at home.

After being involved in a fight, the suspect broke into the home of Marylou Villalobos Palos on Tuesday as she was inside with her two children, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials and witnesses.

Marylou Villalobos Palos is seen, left, in an undated photo provided by her family, and at right in a still from home surveillance footage as she ran from an assailant who wound up stabbing her on April 16, 2019, in Lake Forest.

He grabbed a knife from the family’s kitchen and attacked the woman, officials said. Palos ran down the street, drawing the attacker away from her children.

The man ultimately caught up with Palos and stabbed her repeatedly, officials said. Home security cameras captured the violence.

Good Samaritans in a passing car stopped to intervene, but the suspect chased them away and stole their car.

The man then struck and injured a pedestrian before crashing into another car and trying, unsuccessfully, to break into a mobile home, officials said. He was trying to carjack another vehicle when a passing bicyclist pepper-sprayed him.

Deputies soon found and arrested James Carlos Melendrez, 25, of Anaheim. He’s since been charged with a dozen felony counts in connection with the alleged one-man crime wave. Bail has been set at $2 million.

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