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Athens family recovering from being stabbed by teenage house guest

Abbie, Jessica and Tyler Cates.

By Joe Johnson

An Athens family is lucky to be alive after they were allegedly stabbed in their sleep by a teenage friend who spent the night.

The Cates family shared the traumatic experience during an interview with 11Alive.

Mother Jessica Cates said that upon being startled awake on the morning of Jan. 27. she found a 15-year-old houseguest attacking her juvenile daughter with a knife.

"I heard screaming. It's like 7:30-ish in the morning," she said. "And I went upstairs. He was naked and on top of her."

Jessica told the Atlanta TV station that the suspect had previously slept over in her home, and during the assault he was mounting her 15-year-old daughter, Abbie, while wielding the knife.

"When I turned the lights on in there, I saw blood on the wall," Jessica said.

Her 12-year-old son, Tyler, said that he jumped into action to save his sister.

Jessica, who is a nurse, said she rushed her daughter to the bathroom to assess her wounds. But moments later, the suspect allegedly came back and attacked them once more -- stabbing Jessica in the head, neck, and back and Abbie in the head and chest.

Tyler in the TV interview still described the suspect as the nicest person he knew.

"He was my best friend," Tyler said.

While confirming that they are investigating the alleged knife attack, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department was withholding the incident report and not commenting about it.

"Due to the nature of the investigation and the ages of the offender and victims, additional information cannot be released," said Lt. Jody Thompson, ACCPD's public information officer.

Another account of the incident was provided by Jessica's sister for a gofundme account that was established to assist the family as they recover:

"On Saturday morning, January 27th, my sister, Jessica Cates and her children were violently assaulted in their home by an overnight guest. Jessica and her daughter suffered several stab wounds to their heads and backs. Her daughter Abbie was targeted and suffered the brunt of the assault," Stephanie Butler said. "Her son Tyler and husband Justin sustained minor injuries fighting off the attacker. Both Jessica and Justin will be missing several weeks of work while the family recovers from this tragedy..

"They will have significant medical bills as well as the cost of repairs to their home. Any funds recieved will go towards loss of wages, medical bills, home repairs, and anticipated legal fees," according to Butler. "Jessica is looking into all avaliable resources, but this Gofundme is a way for those who want to help to contribute."

Anyone who wants to assist the Cates family can do so at

On Saturday Stephanie Butler gave an update on her injured family members:

"Jessica and Abbie are home and on the mend. They are surrounded by friends and family to help make them feel safe and keep their spirits up. Justin will is receiving paid Family Medical Leave, but Jessica does not qualify for paid leave at the moment. They're not sure when she will be able to return to work; it will depend on how Abbie is doing and when she's ready to return to school. We don't have an update on any legal proceeding yet. Our father, uncle, and brother have been a huge help in repairs and painting the upstairs. Jessica wants everyone to know how much the love and support her family is receiving means to her. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I'll update again soon."

6,703 views3 comments


Feb 07

This is so sad. Prayers for the family.


Let’s have a 15 year old boy stay overnight with my 15 year old daughter. -Quality Parenting Tips

Replying to

Victim blaming is what people who don’t know the situation do. Don’t be a jerk.

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