Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press Crime scene investigator Greg Mardis lifts fingerprints from the front door of the Downtown Mart, where was a stabbing and robbery Thursday.
A trail of dime-sized drops of blood led to a Chattanooga business where a clerk staggered Thursday afternoon after she was stabbed in the face during a robbery.
Upon reaching the door of the nearby Market Street business -- 16 drops later -- the clerk from the Downtown Mart collapsed.
"They slit her head," said a man who helped the woman, but declined to be named, saying he was scared of retaliation.
He pointed to his forehead, indicating where slash marks were on the victim.
"She can barely speak English," the man said. "It just upset us. We ran out to see if we could catch the guy. We didn't see anyone. They were already gone."
Chattanooga police officers responded to the Downtown Mart at 704 Market St. after receiving a call just after 2 p.m. that a woman was bleeding from the face.
The store clerk, who was working by herself at the business, which carries hair and beauty products, was stabbed 10 times, according to police. Her identity was not released.
The victim, who was taken to Erlanger hospital, told police another woman came into the store and threatened to kill her. The attacker stabbed the victim in the face with the knife, chased her to the back of the store, tried to choke her and stabbed her several more times, according to police.
A bloodied steak knife was found inside the store, where police found "lots of blood." The cash register was hanging from the counter by the power cord with the drawer removed, police said.
The assailant was described as a woman with messy hair pulled back behind her head, in her late 30s or early 40s. She is heavy-set and is about 5 foot 3, witnesses said.
The attacker fled the store into a possibly gray or black Chrysler 300 sedan that was waiting outside. The driver appeared to be a woman between 18 and 20 years old, witnesses said.
Anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to call Chattanooga Crime Stoppers at 698-3333.