A Troy woman is recovering in a Seattle hospital two weeks after her husband allegedly assaulted her with a baseball bat. Authorities charged Joshua J. Peterson with aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon on Sept. 30, two days after the reported beating. Joshua remains jailed and his bond is set at $500,000.
Now, the small community along the Idaho border is pulling together to help Tracee, 38, and her children, who are now living with their grandparents. More than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil for Tracee on Oct. 4 and friends are now planning a dinner, auction and fundraiser on Nov. 16. The streets of Troy are lined with purple ribbons, raising awareness about domestic violence.
“The first time I drove through town and saw all the purple ribbons it brought me to tears,” said Tracee’s father Ed Hanson. “I don’t know where they found that many purple ribbons, but the town is covered in it.”
Hanson said he was the first to respond to the scene on Sept. 28 after Joshua called him in a panic. Joshua and Tracee have been married for more than a decade and have five children together.
“He called and he was pretty hysterical. All he said was ‘call 911, she’s still alive’ and that was about it,” Hanson recalled. “(When I got there Tracee) was not unconscious and was in incredible pain. I couldn’t do much but hold her hand and pray and wait for the EMTs.”
According to court documents, police found Tracee with her mouth filled with blood and extreme swelling in the nose, cheek and eye areas. Her right ear was severed at the lower lobe. Tracee was taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Joshua later showed police where he had thrown the bat allegedly used to beat Tracee. After finding the bat, police arrested Joshua and brought him to the Lincoln County Detention Center. It was there that he admitted to police that he had assaulted Tracee, according to court records. If convicted, Joshua could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
According to Hanson, this was not the first time Joshua had assaulted Tracee, and the couple was in the process of separating. In 2003, Joshua was found guilty of misdemeanor partner-family assault and sentenced to one year in prison with all but 10 days suspended, according to news reports.
Once hospitalized, Tracee spent eight days at KRMC before being sent to Seattle on Oct. 5 where she is in critical but stable condition. In Seattle, Tracee has undergone the first of many surgeries and was in a medically induced coma until Oct. 10, according to Hanson. That day she was able to talk to doctors and answer a few basic questions. Doctors told her father that nearly every bone in Tracee’s head was broken because of the assault.
Since the assault, Troy has rallied around Tracee’s family. Local businesses have started raising money to pay for Tracee’s medical bills and take care of her children, ages 5, 6, 8, 11 and 16. Purple bracelets and ribbons have been popping up all over town and high school students organized a day to wear purple to raise awareness about domestic violence. October is domestic violence awareness month.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Hanson said. “I’ve been getting 15 to 20 hugs a day, some from people I don’t even know… the love of this community has made it possible for us to get through this.”
Friends are now planning a fundraiser, according to Kori Erickson, who has been friends with Tracee since elementary school. On Nov. 16, an auction, children’s carnival and chili dinner will take place in the elementary school gym from 3 to 7 p.m. Later, the Copper Mountain Band will play a benefit concert at the VFW in Troy.
“It’s amazing for a small town how everyone is pulling together, but this is a group effort,” Erickson said. “We not only want to help Tracee and her kids, we also want to raise awareness (about domestic violence).”
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