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A woman who discovered a stabbing victim in Thurston County on Monday afternoon said she believes the owner’s pit-bull mix saved his life because it was running in and out of traffic trying to get help.

“I wholeheartedly believe that that dog came out for help,” Teri Lynne said.

At about 3 p.m., after Lynne and her boyfriend stopped their car in the 900 block of Marvin Road in Lacey, the dog, Bella, led her to the owner’s home, Lynne said. The dog led her to the open doorway, where, she said, she saw the dog’s owner lying on the floor inside. The man had been stabbed multiple times. His wheelchair was sitting upright nearby, Lynne said. She said there was a lot of blood. She heard the man take several shallow breaths, and she then called 911.

On Tuesday, the 67-year-old stabbing victim found by Lynne was clinging to life at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, the victim of stab wounds to his head and neck.

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A 30-year-old man, a former neighbor of the stabbing victim’s, was in the Thurston County Jail Tuesday, being held on suspicion of first-degree assault in the attack as well as first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his mother to death earlier on Monday morning in her Foxhall Drive home in the Hawks Prairie neighborhood.

The deceased woman was identified Tuesday by Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock as Frankie Austin, 59.

Sheriff’s detectives believe the suspect went to his former neighbor’s Marvin Road home after stabbing his mother to death.

Thurston County Animal Services Director Susanne Beauregard said Tuesday that Bella has been returned to the stabbing victim’s daughter. Unfortunately, Bella’s sibling, another pit-bull mix, also wandered off after the stabbing and was found dead Tuesday after the pet was struck by a car, Beauregard said.

It is absolutely possible that Bella was trying to get help after her owner was stabbed Monday, Beauregard said.

“It was clear that there was upset at home, and she was scared and she needed human help and she was very distressed about her owner’s condition,” she said. “There are lots of things that dogs tell us.”

Thurston County sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Brady said Tuesday that the suspect has told detectives he killed his mother’s corgi Monday. That dog was found in a compost bin at her home, Brady said.

Brady said Lynne deserves recognition for getting medical attention for the stabbing victim.

“Obviously time’s going to tell whether he survives his injuries,” Brady said. “But certainly he was incapacitated and was not going to be able to call for help himself.”

Lynne’s discovery of the victim also set the wheels in motion so that detectives were able to get the suspect off the streets, he added.

“A possibility exists he could have done violence to other people as well,” Brady said.

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