DENISON, Texas – A Texas mother of four who grew up in The Woodlands is recovering after officials say she was attacked by an intruder in her home on New Year’s Eve. The woman was asleep when she was severely beaten. Her family said even though what happened is terrible, they’re thanking God that their daughter is alive and they’re trying to focus on the positives.
Ariel Holley, 29, was sleeping in her Denison home next to the her four-year-old son when a man dragged her from her bed, took her to the bathroom and tried to snap her neck multiple times, according to her family.
“The thing that gets me the most is that he was intent on killing her. He wasn’t intent on just trying to rape her, he wanted to kill her,” said Jill, Ariel’s mother.
Jill received a disturbing call from her daughter overnight and she says she and her husband immediately drove to Ariel’s home.
“On the way, I could hear her, she was trying to talk, and it was a 2-minute drive," Jill said. “We were there in two minutes, and she stopped responding to me about halfway there.”
Jill said when they arrived, the front door was open and the house was dark. They walked in and a table was flipped upside down. Jill’s husband started yelling to see who was inside the home and that’s when she says they found Ariel.
“In the bathroom, she was curled up on the bathroom floor and there was blood everywhere,” Jill said. “She started screaming and goes, ‘he tried to kill, he tried to kill me, he tried to kill me!’ She said it over and over, her face is like, looked like it’s just smashed in, we didn’t know what had happened.”
Ariel told her parents the man tried to break her neck over the edge of the bathtub, tried twisting her neck and smashing her trachea. Ariel said she fought and even kicked the suspect in the face, according to Ariel’s mother.
The suspect thought Ariel was dead but when he heard her trying to call 911, he came back and tried to gouge her eyes out, the family said.
“Her nose is broken in two places," Jill said. “He tried to gouge her eyes out. All in all, yeah, she’s got 10 fingers 10 toes, she can walk. It could have been so much worse.”
During the entire attack, Ariel’s four children were asleep.
Police later identified Zachary Jolliff as the suspect and arrested him.
Ariel barely knows the man. Her mother said he was an independent contractor and had worked on a house for them. Jill said the family had even donated items to help out his family in the past.
During the attack, the suspect allegedly told Ariel that everyone seemed happy, but he wasn’t happy, her family said.
Jolliff faces attempted murder, aggravated assault causing serious injury and burglary charges. His bond was set at $750,000.
“We just want him to be locked up forever, yeah, he doesn’t need to be out,” Jill said. “Someone who can do that and just tell you he’s going to kill you and try over and over, he does not need to be walking the streets.”
A GoFundMe account was set up for Ariel to help with medical expenses.